Buying Murano Glass: What to Know (Part II)

The free tours are a scam.

Avoid The “Free-Tours” To Murano

This helpful piece is how to spot a typical tourist trap in Venice centered around Murano glass. Salespersons, employed by glass factories, tempt visitors with a “free-tour” of Murano. It sounds risk-free at first, but the “free-tour” will be short, limited to one place, and end with pressure to buy glass from their shop. 

The salespersons will only take tourists to the glass factory that employed them. There, they do a short glassblowing demonstration. Next, they take visitors to their over-priced shop. Tourists then feel forced to buy something to repay their free tour despite it being limited and short. This is usually where the highest priced glass is. They depend on the greenness of the tourists to not know a solid price for glass.

It is better to go to Murano on your own by taking a Vaporetto, the water public transports of Venice. You can research how to get to by looking online. 

Not All Murano Glass Shop Venice Are Trustworthy

In Murano, the Murano glass shops outnumber the cafés. It is Murano’s largest attraction and several Murano glass shops in Venice take advantage of the tourists. Even on Murano, there is fake glass made in China or the Czech Republic pretending to be Murano glass in the shop windows. Some artists have their workshops open to the public where you can view the art being made before it is put on the shelf. 

Though, it is the true masters of glassblowing that work behind closed doors to keep the secrets of trade sacred and in trustworthy hands. If you want to purchase certified Murano glass from the top artists in Murano, visit a real shop where you will see the best Masterpieces to fit into your residence. Authenticity is assured.


Buying Murano Glass: What to Know (Part I)

Don’t be fooled by the fake glass, make sure that you’re getting the real Murano glass. 

Looking to buy some Murano glass? You might be in Venice or arranging to go there soon and you want to know where to purchase real glass art there. You will see there are several Murano glass shops, but not all of them are honest. Prices differ so much, it is difficult to tell what the correct price is, and counterfeit glass can be obtained even in Venice. Don’t risk buying and guessing in some random shop. This article will help you to avoid falling for the traps, so you can own some real, certified Murano glass. 

Venetian Glass, Murano Glass or ItalianGlass? What’s the Difference?

Take only a couple of minutes before buying to read the labels. If you have any question that the artwork is real, here are some advice to help you weed out the fakes:

First, if you see art labeled as “Italian Glass”, it is probably made not in Murano, but in a different area of Italy. Murano is not a brand. It is an origin. Only artworks created in Murano can be labeled as Murano glass.

Artworks labeled as “Murano Style” or “Italian Style” are probably counterfeit. These vague labels could mean the glass was made in China or the Czech Republic.

There is “Venetian glass” which can be puzzling as Murano is a part of Venice. Some might call it “Venetian Glass” to define the style but be alert to their aversion to labeling it as real “Murano glass.”

“Murano Glass” is the most dependable label to search for. Regrettably, the label alone can’t guarantee its authenticity. As a smart shopper, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the piece. Be extremely aware if you get an offer that seems “too good to be true.” It is a common trap used on tourists searching for a deal.

Does Banning Plastic Straws Really Help the Environment (Part II)?


Why Straws?

These big cities and big corporations taking action aids in bringing attention to the problem and begin a conversation about how harmful plastic straws, and plastic as a whole, are to the earth.

Moving away from plastic straws is certainly good for the environment, but it might present some challenges for business owners. This article explains why straws are being banned, what their ecological impact is, and what your choices are when it comes to discovering the correct alternative for your business.

According to the amount of attention, plastic straws are getting, it might be surprising to learn they are not the chief type of plastic waste. That top score goes to containers and food wrappers, which account for around 30% of all plastic pollution. They are trailed by the plastic bottle and container caps at 16%, plastic bags at 11%, and finally stirrers and plastic straws at 8%.

Plastic straws are harming marine animals.

The main reason noted for getting rid of plastic straws is their bad impact on marine wildlife and oceans. Plastic in the ocean is a big problem. You don’t have to look any further than the videos of marine wildlife suffering due to ocean pollution to realize that. But of all the plastic that ends up in the ocean, straws make up only around 4% of that waste.

Why are Straws a Big Target? 

The issue is its size. They are little and unobtrusive. So much so that folks usually forget they are plastic and don’t recycle them.

Straws that do get recycled typically don’t make it through the mechanical recycling sorter since they are so lightweight and small. So, they pollute recycling loads or get disposed of as garbage.

It is assessed that the average person uses two straws per day. That means that if 25,000 individuals stop using straws, we would abolish 5,000,000 straws and stop them from getting into the oceans and destroying wildlife.


Does Banning Plastic Straws Really Help the Environment (Part I)?

Plastic straws are unnecessary toxins to our environment. 

You might have lately seen all the news articles about plastic straws. The small, harmless utensil that goes usually unnoticed in your everyday life has made it onto the most-wanted list.

If it’s surprising to learn that plastic straws are getting backlash, it might be even more surprising to learn that, according to a recent research study, over 90% of the plastic we use isn’t recycled and usually ends up in the ocean or landfills.

Due to statistics like that, some corporations and municipalities are beginning to make efforts to combat pollution. As part of that, they are planning to ban plastic straws.

Seattle was the 1st U.S. city to ban the use of plastic straws, plastic utensils, and stir sticks for vendors in the city. Straws made of compostable plastic or paper are still allowed. Also, the New York City Council recently presented legislation to cut out plastic straws by 2020. San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors also passed a proposal to ban stirrers and plastic straws in the city.

Among corporations coming on board, Starbucks is one of the first worldwide top brands to announce it will be moving away from using plastic straws. In addition to converting to compostable straws, it will be distributing a new straw-free drink lid crafted for its regular cold-drink cups.

McDonald’s in the United Kingdom has already started the process of eliminating plastic straws from its stores and has set a goal to have all its beverage and food packaging materials be from recycled or renewable sources by 2025.

So, realizing that most straws, recycled or not, are expected to end up in our oceans, and understanding the number of straws being used every day, people cutting back on use can make a huge difference.


Why Plastic Straws are Being Banned

The small size of straws makes it easy to forget about recycling.

You may have observed all the news articles about plastic straws lately. The small, apparently harmless utensil that goes practically unnoticed in your everyday life has made it onto a most-wanted list.

As of July 1, 2018, Seattle is the 1st American city to ban the use of plastic straws for vendors in the city, as well as plastic utensils and stir sticks.

Starbucks is one of the first globally-recognized brands to state it will be moving away from plastic straws. Besides changing to compostable straws, it will be offering a new strawless drink lid design on its regular cold-drink cups.

These large corporations and big cities are taking action to bring attention to the problem and begin a conversation about how harmful plastic is to the earth.

Moving away from plastic straws is good for the environment, but it may pose some challenges for business owners. Read on to find out why straws are being banned.

Why straws?

Based on the media attention plastic straws are getting, it may be shocking to learn they are not the principal type of plastic waste. That record goes to containers and food wrappers which account for over 30% percent of all plastic pollution. They are trailed by container caps and plastic bottles which are at over 15% percent, plastic bags at 11%, and lastly plastic straws and stirrers at 8%.

So why are straws a big target? The issue is its size. They are inconspicuous and small. So much so that folks often overlook they are plastic and don’t recycle them.

Straws that do get recycled frequently don’t make it through the mechanical recycling sorter since they are so lightweight and small. So, they get disposed of as garbage.

Knowing that most straws, recycled or not, will probably end up in our oceans, and knowing the number of straws being used every day, cutting back on the use or not using them at all, can make a big difference.


The Dangers of Flip Flops 


Flip-flops are okay for crossing the beach, but you should never make them your everyday summer shoes.

You could sprain your ankle

There are several reasons why flip flops aren’t the best choice for everyday use.

Those rubber flip-flops you got for a cheap price are fine for the beach. But you won’t want to wear them every day, all day. They have absolutely no arch support, meaning your feet will begin to turn toward the middle of your body instead of staying straight. When that occurs, you’re may possibly sprain your ankle

Your foot could get inflamed

Even if you’re really careful and don’t twist your foot, that absence of arch support can kill your feet. Without the right support, your plantar, the band of tissue in the arch of your foot, will begin to pull. That pulling aggravates the tissue, making your arch painful and red from a condition called plantar fasciitis. When you try to step down on your foot, you have agonizing pain in the arch.

Foot problems could go bone-deep

With too many attacks of plantar fasciitis, your body will begin making new bone to try to heal the pulling. With more bone than the body needs, a buildup known as a heel spur could come on the bottom or back of your heel.

Objects could poke through to your foot

It doesn’t take long for a pair of cheap flip-flops to get worn down. Once the heel and toe start to go, it’s easy for glass, dangerous objects, and nails on the ground to poke through. But the flip-flops themselves are a bigger issue because a tetanus shot won’t protect against them. Part of the shoe can get embedded in their foot and create a foreign body.

You’ll twist your toes in—and they’ll stay there

Flip-flops are, okay, floppy, so you possibly need to curl your toes down to keep them from coming off while you walk. But wear them enough and they may not straighten out once your shoes are off. The toes can bend up and stay in that fixed position that looks like a little hammer.


Donating, Repair and Recycling: What to Do with Your Old Glasses (Part II)


Repair them

Instead of tossing your broken glasses you can always fix them.

Wear and tear on your glasses is going to happen after wearing them for a while. They may have loose hinges, bent arms, or missing nose pads. Your eye doctor might be able to repair your glasses for you or tell you where to get them fixed. If you know how to, you can attempt to repair them yourself. You’ll need certain tools to work with the little hinges and screws. However, it’s a skill that’s easy to learn.

Donate them

While some reuse eyeglass programs do have their flaws, some initiatives are doing good work to get the most out of used eyeglasses. New Eyes takes old glasses in the US, recycles and distributes them to vision-impaired individuals who can’t afford their own eyeglasses. The program distributes over 70% of their donations. Lions Club also has a reuse initiative in countries including South Africa, Australia, Canada, Spain, and Italy. This organization is said to recycle around 35% of all donations. If you’re in Australia, you can drop off your old glasses to Specsavers stores where they will be passed on for reuse.

Recycle them

Glasses are made up of many different materials. The lenses are typically made from plastic and the frames might be made from plastic, aluminum, steel, or gold. This makes it hard to recycle them. That said, some organizations have programs that can break down glasses and recycle the bare materials.

If your frames are made from aluminum, they can be recycled substantially. In order to recycle them, you’ll have to break apart your glasses into bare materials. You might be able to throw the aluminum part in with your curbside recycling if it is put in a bigger aluminum container.

Imagine if we all kept our glasses out of a landfill. Now, that’s a vision!

Donating and Recycling: What to Do with Your Old Glasses (Part I) 

Your old glasses can be recycled.

Maybe you’ve recently gone for an eye test and your prescription has changed. Perhaps your frames or lenses have cracked or bent out of shape, or you just want a different style. Regardless of the reason, you now have an old pair of glasses on your hands. So, what can you do to avoid sending them to a landfill?

In the US, over 60% of adults wear vision corrective glasses. And in East Asia, this percentage is greater. Between 75 and 85 percent of 18-year-olds in Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea have myopia, a condition causing complicatedness with long-distance vision.

Considering that many of us upgrade our glasses once every two years at least, the amount of unused eyeglasses ending up in landfill is increasing in record numbers.

Before Buying Your Glasses

The first and most critical way to diminish waste from eyewear is to pick the right glasses from the start and make them last. While we can’t do anything if our prescription changes or if our glasses have been killed by accidental crushing, there are a couple of things we can do to increase their lifespan.

Pick quality glasses that will last. They may cost a little more, but if you can make them last longer than you would a cheap pair, you will most likely get your money’s worth in the long run.

Get second-hand frames from a vintage store or thrift shop. Instead of getting into the idea of having the latest frames, why not pick frames that already exist?

Avoid trends. Select glasses that fit your personal style and that you’ll love for a long time instead of buying “what’s hot.”

Use a protective case always to avoid dents, cracks, and scratches.

Pick frames made from a recyclable material such as aluminum or steel.



Could Reusable Bottles Making a Comeback?

Reusable glass bottles used to be a thing in the United States.

In the US, we’re used to recycling our plastic bottles and glasses, getting 5 to 10 cents back in return. But returning big reusable bottles emptied of beer for a refund at convenience, liquor and grocery stores is the norm in Mexico.  If you buy a liter of Tecate at a small liquor store, you’re told that the price is more than on the label because you’ll get a refund if you return the beer bottle. Some of the bottles have noticeably been cleaned before with a clear line of wear across the brown glass.

The practice of returnable bottles is common in Madagascar too, where you get a beer at roadside stands where they sell Gold or THB (Three Horses Beer) in returnable bottles.

You can also return a bottle of beer in Ecuador where there is only one choice in bottled beer, a large one or a small one.  Returnable beer bottles are common enough in Germany, as well. According to The Atlantic, in Norway, over 90% of all beverage containers sold are returned for recycling.

Why Not in the US?  

The practice of reusing bottles is good sense and it has always made American folks who are into recycling wonder, why don’t we do this in the US?  Of course, reusing bottles was typical in the US once upon a time. According to the Container Recycling Institute, the disposable can appeared in ‘38 and within 10 years encompassed 11% of the beer market in America. Reusable bottles fell to 86% of the market in that same time while non-reusable bottles increased to 3%.

Over time, the use of refillable bottles for both beer and soda dropped off dramatically.  Soft drink bottles were 100% refillable in ‘47, stated by GrassRoots Recycling Network. By 2000, under 1% of soft drinks were bottled in refillable containers.

Why Plastic Teethers Are a No-No for Your Baby  

Plastic teethers are out

You’ll absolutely want to avoid any plastic teethers that contain PVC, phthalates, or BPA.

Wooden and cloth teething toys are the best options for your little one.

BPA or bisphenol-A is a plastics chemical that imitates estrogen and disrupts the body’s hormonal systems. It’s really harmful to babies, young kids, and pregnant women. Though most regulatory bodies, like the FDA, will tell you BPA is safe in the tiny quantities that are in plastic products, several companies have decided to produce and market BPA-free plastics.

Great! Except for one little detail: Numerous companies just replace BPA with BPS, bisphenol-S, which is just as toxic, if not more toxic, than BPA. The bottom line is just because a product is stated as BPA-free doesn’t mean it’s safe.

PVC or polyvinyl chloride is the third most common plastic in the world. It is also the most toxic. It’s bad stuff and you don’t want it in something your babies will put in their mouths.

Phthalates are chemicals put into plastics to make them supple and soft. PVC is brittle and hard so to make something like a squeezy toy necessitates adding phthalates. Phthalates don’t stick to plastic, though, so they leach out over time. Babies who suck on teethers with phthalates will be intaking a known carcinogen. Several online websites have great lists of phthalate names so you can check labels.

Wooden teethers and natural fabrics are in

If you’re truly concerned about plastics or your baby’s reactions to rubber, wood and fabric teething toys are the ones for you. There is a huge variety of healthy teethers to pick from.

Ringley is a Canadian company that makes teethers from organic cotton and maple wood.

Little Alouette teethers are made in Ohio from locally sourced hardwoods. A number of them are unfinished and some come with a finish of organic flaxseed oil. The teething toys come in an assortment of fun shapes, like a hippo and a fish.