Julia L F Goldstein

How Are You Changing the World?


Defining a Brand: One Message, Two Business Lines

Defining a Brand: One Message, Two Business Lines
Jun 18, 2020 by Julia L F Goldstein
I’m struggling to define my brand. Am I the writer who can learn enough about photolithography or lithium-ion battery chemistry to write about those topics in understandable English? Or am I the author trying to change the world by spreading the message of environmental sustainability and smarter use of materials?

In Honor of Earth Day: Three Actions

In Honor of Earth Day: Three Actions
Apr 22, 2020 by Julia L F Goldstein
When I woke up this morning, I asked myself, “What should I do today to honor Earth Day?” Or can I still say, to celebrate Earth Day? Some days, I hardly feel like celebrating. But then I remember the practice of gratitude and I realize that there’s plenty to celebrate.

Rethinking Reusable Containers and Packaging Waste

Rethinking Reusable Containers and Packaging Waste
Apr 10, 2020 by Julia L F Goldstein
My reusable Starbucks cups sit in a cabinet in my kitchen gathering dust. Yes, I could go to a drive-through at Starbucks and show the barista one of the cups to save ten cents on the cost of a latte. The barista would then hand me my drink in a disposable cup. But I see no point in flashing my decorative cup. My habit of bringing reusable cups has nothing to do with the discount.

Secondhand Goods, Secondhand Art

Secondhand Goods, Secondhand Art
Feb 26, 2020 by Julia L F Goldstein
When I had diseased birch trees cut down in my backyard a couple of years ago, I saved some of the wood. One of the pieces, in particular, captivated me. It’s shaped like the number nine and would make a great top for a small table or footstool. I’ve gone so far as roughly sanding it. But it still lies in my garage not fulfilling its promise as a conversation-starting piece of furniture.

Snow Days

Snow Days
Jan 20, 2020 by Julia L F Goldstein
My neighborhood got seven inches of snow over two days this month, which is a lot for Seattle. Schools close, events get canceled, and garbage and recycling pickup doesn’t come. As I walk down the street, I can’t help but take a photo of my neighbor’s bins covered in snow.

When Electronics Die Before Their Time

Dec 31, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
Our TV stopped working suddenly. One evening we were watching a show with no problem and the next day it refused to turn on. I tried the usual fixes: turn it off and then on again, make sure there is power to the wall outlet, check the batteries in the remote. None of that helped. The TV was getting power, but we had no picture or sound.

Three Takes on Materials and Sustainability

Nov 01, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
In October, I had the opportunity to speak to three very different audiences: 1) semiconductor packaging industry executives and engineers; 2) members of a synagogue who are part of the congregation's "green team";  3) university students enrolled in an environmental health seminar.

Glass, Plastic, or Aluminum?

Jul 07, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
Spotted on the road: a Coca-Cola truck emblazoned with an image of the product in a glass bottle and these words: “Enjoy the Coke, recycle the bottle.” But what happens to these bottles when someone turns them in?

What's in Your Backpack?

May 17, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
It’s Thursday morning and I’m on the bus heading to a business meeting. I’m making good on the promise I made to take public transit more frequently, something I best appreciate when I can avoid the hassle of traffic and parking near downtown Seattle. Also, I can’t write a blog post while driving. My backpack is stuffed with everything I’ll need for a busy day traveling around Puget Sound by bus, ferry, and on foot.

Hawaii: Land of Lava and Bioplastic Cups

Apr 10, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein
I recently returned from a week in Hawaii, where I traveled to the Big Island to compete in the Lavaman Olympic distance triathlon. I posted a race report on Facebook, but that's not what I want to discuss. I want to talk about Hawaii's approach to environmentally friendly products and packaging.

Surfing, E-waste, and the 2020 Olympics

Mar 04, 2019 by Julia L F Goldstein

Did you know that the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are going to feature surfing as one of the sports? I learned this fact by talking with another member of The Riveter, the co-working space where I have a desk. He recently moved into the space and had heard that I write website content, so he wanted to chat. One of the things I love about co-working is the opportunity to engage in intelligent conversations during a brief break from writing. Many writers are introverts, but I get my energy from interacting with people, so co-working is a great fit.

One Bag, Two Bag, Green Bag, Blue Bag

May 06, 2018 by Julia L F Goldstein
I went grocery shopping at PCC Market (a Seattle-based co-op grocery chain) this morning and noticed blue plastic bags in the produce section. A closer look at the bags informed me that they are made from “100% Post Industrial Recycled Resin.” I supposed we are in the post-industrial age, so perhaps that is appropriate. Grammar issues aside, I understand that the bags are made from plastics that were used in some industrial process and have now been recycled into a form suitable for carrying fruits and vegetables.

Searching for Greener Materials

Apr 07, 2018 by Julia L F Goldstein
For a materials geek like me, the best part of the GoGreen conference in Seattle on April 4 was walking around the exhibit hall and talking to the people working the booths. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed hearing from local mayors about what their cities are doing. I’m encouraged by efforts of brands, from family-owned businesses to large corporations, that are taking a stand on politically-charged positions. When it comes to the role of materials in environmental sustainability, though, the exhibit hall was the place to be.

The Full Story Behind Recycling

Nov 18, 2017 by Julia L F Goldstein
Did you know that store receipts made from thermal paper aren’t recyclable? They are apparently coated with bisphenol A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS), the same toxic additives that caused health alerts for reusable plastic water bottles. I want to do the right thing by recycling all the paper that I’m done using, but I’ve been unknowingly contaminating my recycling bin. If I, someone who’s been studying recycling, didn’t know this, I bet a lot of people are equally ignorant.Now you know. Don’t recycle your receipts. Just throw them away, or, better yet, opt out of paper receipts in the first place. Some stores ask if you want a receipt or offer the option of electronic receipts. For purchases that...

Plastic Bags: To Ban or Not To Ban

Oct 21, 2017 by Julia L F Goldstein
It started with an announcement on the social networking site NextDoor: “Please join us for a meeting with the Director of Zero Waste Management…to discuss how to go about banning plastic grocery bags in Redmond.” Most posts on NextDoor generate a handful of replies. Some popular ones generate twenty. This post unleashed a torrent of discussion: 136 replies from 49 neighbors in my city.The initial replies simply said, “No thanks” and “Please don’t,” but the discussion soon became much more intense. To my neighbors’ credit, nearly everyone was reasonably polite while expressing their views, some of which were based on facts and some of which were opinions that didn’t necessarily mesh with the facts.With the flood of information swirling around...

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Goals for Progress

Jul 15, 2017 by Julia L F Goldstein
Last weekend I completed a triathlon, my fourth to date. When people hear the word "triathlon" many automatically think of the Ironman, a competition consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile (marathon) run. My event was much more modest: 0.75-mile swim, 22.5-mile bike ride, and 4-mile run. This is slightly shorter than an Olympic triathlon (1.5-km swim, 40-km bike, 10-km run) but longer than most sprint distance events. How is the triathlon related to the title of this blog post? Keep reading to find out. Reduce After seeing my times on the individual legs of the triathlon, I was a bit disappointed. I achieved my overall time goal, but I know there is room for improvement. The day after...