Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Plastic, Plastic Everywhere - Part 1

I was pondering plastic recently, as any green-minded person is likely to do.  Specifically I was pondering how to bring less of it into my house because there's already way too much of it out there. I asked a big question - could I keep from buying anything that was put in, wrapped in or made of plastic ever again.  With the bulk of my shopping being food and household items and with my tendency to shop at natural food stores - you would hope this might be possible.  But is it?  As I walked through my house looking here and there I really started to realize how difficult this would be.

I was getting low on toothpaste and the cap to my toothpaste was made of plastic.  No toothpaste.  I've done the salt or baking soda thing before and I really don't care for it.  I like my Weleda Toothpaste.  My Preserve toothbrush is made of 100%  post-consumer recycled content.  It was once a yogurt cup or three.  But it would still be plastic.  Would completely recycled plastic be OK?  Obviously it's a greener choice than others out there.  The one time I tried a recycled wood handled toothbrush wasn't a success - the sizing was all wrong and I couldn't get to my wisdom teeth way in the back.  While in the bathroom I noticed that all my products, though among the purest you can find, had some amount of plastic in their packaging.  The glass bottle and jars of my preferred organic face products - Suki - all had caps that were plastic and some had plastic pumps.  The Aubrey Organics shampoo and conditioner both come in plastic bottles with plastic caps.  I've done the no shampooing thing in my time too - it was a no go for me even after getting past the recommended transition time.  Even if I tried the alternatives like vinegar rinses - the vinegar bottle would most likely come with a plastic cap or plastic film lined metal cap.  I find the little plastic bottle cap rings on the beach all the time - they're one of the most prominent pieces of plastic trash on my local beaches.  They annoy me.  So does the prevalence of plastic in my bathroom.



From the bathroom I thought about medicines.  As an herbalist, I use a lot of herbs, which I can thankfully get in bulk.  But I also use tinctures, and though they come in nice little glass bottles with glass and rubber droppers - they also come wrapped in a protective seal of plastic.  That's not a bad thing - them being obviously sealed - but the plastic is.  I'm not set up to make all my own tinctures at this point.  I would need a press and a good source for organic grain alcohol.  Would the press or grain alcohol come packaged with some amount of plastic?  Then there's my capsules that I need to take for various health conditions.  They come in plastic bottles and wrapped in a plastic seal.  Some may come in a glass bottle but the lid will have that darned plastic ring again.  It would be loads of work to make all the capsules on my own - even with a capsule maker - oh, my capsule maker is made of plastic.  Darn.  Well it wouldn't be NEW plastic.

Then there's the food stuff.  There is a local glass bottled milk - but that comes with a plastic ring and lid.  So that would leave cartons of milk with old fashioned openings - you know, the kind like we had on the little milk cartons when we were kids, the ones that NEVER want to open right?!  My milk alternatives that I use would be out as well.  None of then come without some sort of plastic on them.  Would that leave me having to make soy, almond and rice milks from scratch?  Yikes!  I'd be so busy I wouldn't have time to blog about it (while typing on my plastic encased laptop).    I would have to forgo anything packaged for the most part.  No cans of anything, they all have linings and most of those contain toxic BPA anyway.  No jars of anything - those plastic lid rings again.  Not many boxes of anything either - inside those boxes there usually resides a plastic bag.  Even some veggies would be out if they were held together with one of those annoying sticky plastic tapes that have organic printed repeatedly on them.  The cats would be out of luck.  Their raw food comes frozen, made by a local company, and sealed in plastic bags.  Obviously there is a good purpose to this but if I wouldn't be buying anything with plastic?  Poor kitties.

I dare you, just take a look in your pantry and see how much food comes with an escort of plastic.  I did - it wasn't pretty.



So after much consideration I figured that it wouldn't be currently feasible or practical to try and never buy anything with plastic ever again.  I like to be clean, well fed and I won't let my kitties suffer starvation or a low quality chow.

So if you want to cut even more plastic out of her your life, what's a girl to do?  I want to DO something.

I'll share some more thoughts and solutions soon.  Stay tuned.

5 comments:

Dee said...

I am dealing with the "oh my goodness LOOK at all this plastic in my house!" issues myself. Have you been to Fake Plastic Fish website? She documents every piece of plastic in her life. In 2009 she only used 3.8 lbs of plastics. I don't think she has kids, though! I am making an effort to seriously reduce the amount of plastic in my life, and I do it in small incremental so as not to overwhelm myself. Life is hectic, I can only deal with so much at one time!

EcoGrrl said...

i know what you mean...like everything, attacking in bite sized chunks works wonders. what i've focused on:

* buying things in as large of a quantity as i can manage as a one-person household (one large versus several smaller = less overall)

* prescriptions in 90 day amounts means one bottle instead of 3 (when by the way are they going to make those containers curbside-level of plastic recyclable??)

* refillable containers for olive oil, canola oil, agave, tamari, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion = all sold in bulk at my local new seasons market ;)

next thought for me that's big? the doggie dooley for le poop dog...hmmm...

food for thought said...

plastic???while travling we found that some parts of Texas,were so decorated with plastic bags that you could not see the fences or even the plants,it looked like the dump truck left it there.that go me to thinking.so i started at home,my very own house boy was i over whelmed plastic every where.so i am thinking it is time to clean up my act,one simple thing,get bags cloth ones,now to clean out the rest of my ??????this should be fun ab

Maurie Kirschner said...

WAY to go Aunt B! The plastic trash problem in Texas sounds awful. Of course it's like that nearly everywhere now - i pick up plastic trash from the beach near the house all the time!

Enjoy shopping with your reusable cloth bags!

food for thought said...

doggie poo what to do?at home on the farm we use a 50 gallon drum wet grass clippings and a small amout of yeast around 10 pkgs once a year,this last us a long time,several years in fact,this all so works in 5 gallon metal buckets,a little lime at dump time in that hole in the ground takes care of every thing you have cooked the worms & eggs in the bucket with the grass & water,but the smell will be bad if you do not use grass in the bucket,it work as a fertlizer in the flowers,not in your garden,to carry it from place of poop,to home small spoon or large scoop into a can placed in the plastic bag to carry it back to its retirement place. ab

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