Reader Favorites: Photodegradable Trash Bags, Horticulture Magazine and a Guideline to Jogging

MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader favorites, including suggestions to try photodegradable trash bags, Horticulture Magazine and a guideline to jogging.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
March/April 1978
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Reader favorites this issue include a guideline to jogging for health.
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Reader suggestions for tried and true products, including suggestions to try photodegradable trash bags, Horticulture Magazine and a guideline to jogging.

Being some good things we want to share. Money won't buy you a spot in Access, but suggestions are invited. Is there something that YOU want to share?


Bes-Pak Photodegradable Trash Bags

Bes-Pak And Co., Inc.
Montgomery, AL 36109

Chemical additives, plastic and waste all rate right at the bottom of our "favorite things" list. But — by taking one of the first (polygrade) . . . and adding it to the second (in the form of plastic trash bags) . . . you end up with a better solution to the third. A photodegradable trash bag.

Photodegradable simply means that a chemical additive (polygrade) in the plastic is activated by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Then — usually within a few weeks or months — depending on climatic conditions and length of exposure, the plastic will break down into harmless natural elements. And this occurs even if the bag is buried in a landfill. Kinds like banana peels, clam shells, and other examples of nature's own biodegradable containers.

An estimated five billion large trash bags were used by the American consumer In 1976. Of these, approximately 16 percent were incinerated, five percent recycled, and the remainder — yes, that comes to some four billion plastic sacks — ended up at sanitary landfills, in open dumps, and/or littering the countryside.

These numbers, plus the fact that many communities now require the use of plastic bags for trash pickup anyway, point up the need for a product like the Bes-Pak Photodegradable Trash Bag. The sacks cost about ten cents apiece, and have a stable shelf life. (In other words, if you buy a box, they won't do a disappearing act in your kitchen cabinets.)

Nope. This ain't the perfect solution to a problem that's rapidly getting out of hand. But It most certainly does appear to be a noteworthy stop in the right direction. — RH.


Horticulture Magazine

125 Garden St.
Marion, Ohio 43302
(for subscriptions)

It'd be nice to be able to say that the incredibly beautiful full-page color photograph (portrait may be more appropriate) of a solitary "Peace" rose in the January 1978 Issue of Horticulture was impressive. Impressive enough to warrant subscribing to this extremely informative monthly publication of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

To do so, however (and not that it isn't true, value would dilute the overall scope and of the magazine. This publication very definitely Is not a collection of "stereotypically exquisite" photos of various roses, orchids, violets, and other "silver-haired ladies' species of flora" coupled with the usual highbrow articles on how to keep your pewter pots polished.

Rather, Horticulture is a genuine, "hands on" tool for the person interested In up-to-date, accurate, "how to" information related to growing just about anything. There are regular columns on greenhouse gardening, indoor plants, and — especially interesting — a "Horticultural camera" section dealing with the problems and techniques of photographing that part of nature in which man gardens . . . inside and out. ("Flowers fads, plants die, but a photograph endures.")

That same January 1978 Issue contained articles as current and varied as a profile of Interior Secretary (and former Idaho potato-pushing governor) Cecil Andrus, a piece on Arizona's cactus — not cattle — rustling problems, "Plant Posts and Their Natural Enemies", "Of All Flowers, Methinks a Rose is Best" (with those fabulous photographs), and a thorough presentation on "New Faces for the 1978 Garden" by MOTHER contributor Derek Fell.

All that — plus a classified section and a coupon collector's cornucopia of seed, nursery, and gardening equipment catalogs guaranteed to ink-stain the greenest thumb-make this quality publication ($1.25 per issue, $10/year U.S., $11 Canada, $12 elsewhere) must reading. — RH.


Guidelines for Successful Jogging

Rory Donaldson and the National Jogging Association
919 18th St. N.W., Suite 830
Washington, D.C. 20006

"We are born with a 70-year warranty. But we never bother to read the Instructions," says Dr. George Sheehan, cardiologist, one of the most respected "running authorities on running", and medical editor of Runner's World magazine (P.O. Box 366, Mountain View, CA 94040, published monthly, $9.50/year).

This quote is certainly not a startling revelation to most of us. Poor diet, negative environmental factors, and lack of exercise are taking their toll (5,000 coronary heart disease deaths in the U.S. In 1920,700,000 in 1972). And we all know people (maybe we greet one in the mirror each morning) who are "out of shape" or — even worse — in a shape that resembles something other than a fit human being. Get this book for that person, especially if "that person" is you!

Guidelines for Successful Jogging is just what the title implies. Guidelines — both general and specific — to got the novice out the door, moving those feet, and-more Important.moving the old ticker. A "target heart rate" Is what It's all about (the "goal" of this non-goal-oriented 8 1/2 inch by 5 1/2 inch booklet). Which simply means that you maintain a particular maximum heart rate for a particular period of time. The result is cardiovascular fitness . . . improved quantity and quality of life.

The 158 pages of this easy-to-read, hard-to-put-down revised (1977) edition are packed with advice (what to wear, when to jog, how to jog, how much to jog, when not to jog, etc.) and enough humor to keep you smiling as you stretch through those warm-up exercises . . . and eager to get out and discover just where those unchained Dobermans really are in your neighborhood.

The point is that Guidelines is readable, workable, usable information. Included is a 12-week diary for recording your progress, references for more specific advice, and just about all the answers to all the questions you might have about jogging. And the manual is available from the good folks at the National Jogging Association (note their aforementioned new address) for only $4.35 postpaid, quantity discounts available.

The Zen expression "learning to get out of your own way" is particularly appropriate here. GUIDELINES can be that all important first step. — RH.


Help! A Step-By-Step Manual for the Care and Treatment of Oil-Damaged Birds

Emil P. Dolensek, D.V.M. and Joseph Bell Publications Dept.
New York Zoological Society
Bronx, N.Y. 10460

This is the kind of publication that just shouldn't be necessary in a rational world. In our world, however — where names like Torrey Canyon and Argo Merchant still stick like the crude oil they dumped in our oceans — it is both necessary and welcome.

A recent United Nations report estimates that a million and a half tons of oil are dumped into the oceans each year. And this petroleum affects the environment far more seriously than merely keeping the tourists out of the water at Miami Beach. (We can only estimate — and shudder at the short- and long-term consequences for fish, shellfish, and marine wildlife.)

Well, now — in addition to wringing our hands and shaking our fists at the megabuck oil corporations — we can take some direct action designed to right some of an oil spill's wrongs. HELP! tells us how.

This thorough and concise little (8 inch by 6 inch, 139-page) booklet sidesteps the politics involved and gets right into the "doing" part of saving the waterfowl victims of a spill. If it tells how to report a spill and organize the rescue . . . includes sections on identifying, catching, handling, transporting, cleaning, and giving basic veterinary care to damaged birds . . . . and — if you've been both skilled and fortunate — explains how to release the fowl to fly again.

HELP! is a special supplement to Animal Kingdom, a magazine that is published specifically for North America's leading zoological societies. It would be expected, therefore, that HELP! would be a very professional and accurate publication. It is . . . and then some.

The price (50 cents per copy, quantity discounts available, checks/money orders payable to Animal Kingdom magazine) Is very reasonable . . . and the information invaluable. Do it. — RH.


Solar Hot Water Heater

Prepared by Eastern Oregon Community Development Council La Grande, OR 97850

So much has been written the past couple of years about heating water with the sun that — rightfully so — most of the idea's mystery and mystique has finally vanished. Which, unfortunately, means that tens of thousands of good folks (perhaps you're one of them) would now love to build their own solar water heaters . . . but just don't know how to go about it.

Well friends, I'm here to tell you that this little problem has now been solved. Despite the redundancy of its title (after all, why use the sun's rays — or any other form of energy — to heat water that's already hot?), this little 76-page manual contains everything you'll ever need to know to build and enjoy your very own sun-powered water heater. The theory, of course, is here but — even more important — so is all the practical information on the subject that you've always wanted to know but didn't know how to find out.

Codes, permits, materials, tools, actual construction steps, and abundant, easy-to-follow diagrams. They're all here . . . plus a chapter of ton reference sources and two appendices (one describes "alternative" solar water heating systems and the other is a master list of the materials you'll need to construct the water heaters described in the book).

Yessiree! The folks at the Eastern Oregon Community Development Council have come up with as thorough and as understandable a treatment of solar water heater construction as we've yet seen (MOTHER's head of research personally recommends it) . . . and this guide is well worth its modest cost ($2.00 postpaid).

Oregon residents can order this manual from: State Community Services Program, 772 Commercial St. S.E., Salem, OR 97310. All others please write: National Center for Appropriate Technology, P.O. Box 3838, Butte, MT 59701. — RH.


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