The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
June 30, 2007

Store Report: Elephant Pharmacy

Just like Whole Foods, this natural pharmacy contains very few items that are not packaged in plastic. Recycled toilet paper in plastic. Recycled napkins in plastic. Natural cellulose sponges in plastic. Natural cleaning products in plastic. Natural cosmetics, drugs, foods, bric-a-brac in plastic. Here are the few plastic-free items that I found and bought:

2 boxes of BioBags, 3 gallon size. BioBags are made from corn and are 100% biodegradable and compostable. We are going to use them in our kitchen garbage can instead of the plastic grocery bags that we have been using. Hopefully, we won’t be putting much into them anyway. We put all of our food waste into the green compost bin; we put all of our paper, cans, and curbside-recyclable plastic into the gray recycling bin; and since the beginning of this plastic project, I have been saving all the non-recyclable plastic “for later.”

Ever since I heard about Casabella natural cellulose scrubbers, I’ve been searching for them in area stores. I finally found them at Elephant Pharmacy… in a 3-pack packaged in plastic! Feh! I stood in front of the scrubber display and pondered this dilemma for a full 5 minutes before I noticed the cute Loofah-Art scrubbers above them. (Short people like me often miss things that are over our heads.) Loofah-Art scrubbers are made from organically-grown loofah, and the only bit of plastic in the packaging is the tiny thingy that connects the loofah to the cardboard backing card. (What are those tiny thingies called?) I thought I could deal with a tiny thingy of plastic. So this scrubber is what we will use to clean our dishes from now on.

And finally, I spent way too much ($19.99) for this Bag-E-Wash plastic bag dryer. You put it on the counter or hang it under the cabinet and leave your washed plastic bags on it to dry. It could be useful. Or it could be a good idea that gets pushed to the back of the counter and gathers dust. I’m not much of a dish-washer to begin with. Just ask Michael. Yeah, I do my dishes, half-heartedly, eventually, and this could be just too much for my non-domestic nature to handle. But why think negatively? It could be fun, right? Or it could be that Michael will do it! Now there’s a great idea!

And here’s an awesome looking product that I didn’t buy: Burt’s Bees Rosemary Mint shampoo bar. It smells wicked cool, and it comes in a cardboard box with zero plastic. I didn’t buy it because I’m already using the Re-Incarnate shampoo bar from Lush (more on that later.) But it’s on my list. As soon as the current shampoo bar is gone, that thing is mine!

Eventually, I found myself once again in a toothpaste aisle opening boxes of toothpaste hoping to find something without plastic. No go. I don’t think such a thing exists anymore. Not in the U.S., anyway. And no mouthwash that’s not in a plastic bottle either. So when I got home, I looked up recipes for homemade tooth powder, and here’s one I found on the Yes! Magazine Web site:

Combine equal parts salt and baking soda. Add a tiny bit of stevia for sweetness (1/16th tsp stevia per 2 tablespoons baking soda/salt.) For flavor, add a few drops of peppermint oil or 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon. (I wonder if peppermint extract would work as well as oil.)

So, I’m gonna do it. If I haven’t found any other alternative before my current tube of toothpaste runs out, I’m just going to make my own. Martha Stewart will be so proud.
 

5 comments
Marygrace
Marygrace

Thank you, thank you, thank you for keeping this blog. I too have a collection of plastic trash that I am "saving for later" and am desperately hoping for ways to reuse. I suppose I will have to learn how to knit.

Deb G
Deb G

Part two. I was motivated to look it up. It is GM free cornstarch according to the Bio bag web site. But it's a good thing to consider when looking at corn products I think.

Deb G
Deb G

In case you haven't discovered this yet, wet products don't work well in the Bio bags. They really do break down fast! Also, I haven't done any research yet, but I'm curious about whether they are made with organic corn or GMO corn....

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  1. […] I do have a few in circulation that I wash a lot, and this lovely dryer which I first read about on My Plastic Free Life is […]