Okay, I know this photo is not as creative or fun as the previous ones. It’s a gray, drizzly day and the photo fits the mood I’m in. So let’s just cut to the tally:
Items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:
- 8 Refresh Endura single-use eyedrop containers (#4 plastic).
- 1 Ak-Mak crackers inside wrapper.Finished the box this week. I’m now sticking with Wasa Crispbreads because they are the only crackers I’ve found without any plastic packaging.
- 1 plastic label from a bottle of Fantastik spray cleaner. Now that the bottle is empty, I’m going to reuse it and make my own spray cleaner. Thinking of using No Impact Man’s recipe. Does anyone have a better one?
- 1 plastic film from a pint of Haagen Dasz ice cream. I can’t believe this was still in the freezer and I didn’t know about it. Now that I do, for sure the rest will be gone this week. How could it not be!?
- 2 So Delicious mini frozen sandwich wrappers. I think there are 2 or 3 left in the box.
- 1 sandwich steak (like Steak-Ums) wrapper. Yeah, this one is truly embarrassing. This stuff is like pressboard made out of meat. Reporting my plastic packaging is making me aware just how much junk I had been eating!
- 1 plastic wrap from around the neck of a glass olive oil bottle. This will be a nice bottle to refill.
Recyclable items purchased before the plastic project began:
- 1 250-ct bottle of Spectrum Essentials Fish Oil gel caps & lid (#2 plastic). Recyclable at Michael’s office in SF. I haven’t found any decent replacement for this one. This particular fish oil is made from wild caught small fish and is certified to be free of mercury, PCBs, and lead. We take it for medical reasons and have found flax oil to be less effective. So, in fact as you’ll see below, I purchased another plastic bottle-full this week.
- 1 Santa Cruz organic applesauce cup (#7 plastic). These are now recyclable through the curbside program in Daly City where I work. This was the last one. But:
- 1 Safeway Organics applesauce cup (#7 plastic). I discovered I had a package of these hiding in the refrigerator at work. 3 more left.
Now for the new plastic waste:
- 1 Haig’s spicy hummus container (#5 Plastic). I’ll either reuse it or Michael will recycle at work. Today, I made my own hummus with part chickpeas and part okara from the homemade soy milk. It’s not quite as good as Haig’s (how do they come up with that creamy texture?) but it’s not bad.
- 1 wrapper from a block of Trader Joe’s English coastal cheddar. No real solution for plastic-free cheese. I had a conversation with a worker in the Rainbow Grocery cheese department this week. She said that if I come to the store at just the right time while they are cutting some cheese (go ahead and laugh), they will put some in my reusable container. And, in fact, she was in the process of cutting up some very pungent gruyere and did sell it to me in my repurposed Haig’s hummus container. But buying cheese this way means I can’t choose what I want. I’ll take or leave whatever they happen to be cutting that day. And since Rainbow Grocery is in San Francisco, it’s not a store I can stop by most days.
Other than that, there’s no way to get plastic-free cheese because retailers can’t cut into a wheel or block without dividing up the whole thing and wrapping the individual blocks in plastic to keep them fresh. At least at Rainbow Grocery, the staff understand what you’re talking about and don’t look at you like you’re from outer space when you ask questions about buying products without plastic. And they don’t offer to take the plastic off and throw it away for you!
- 1 plastic wrapper from around the lid of a new Spectrum Essentials fish oil bottle. See above.
- 1 bag covering the new soy milk maker.
- 1 bag covering the new soy milk maker drip pan.
- 1 plastic bag from soy beans that came with the new soy milk maker.
- 1 plastic bag from parts for new compost tumbler tea collector. More on this in a future post.
- 1 small clam shell package from plastic hose shut-off valve for new compost tumbler tea collector.
New plastic purchased this week:
- 1 bottle 250-ct Spectrum Essentials fish oil gel caps
- 1 glass bottle of New Chapter Organics Every Woman multivitamins with a plastic lid.
- 1 glass bottle of Spectrum Essentials vinegar with a plastic lid.
- 1 glass bottle of Spectrum Essentials canola oil with a plastic lid.
- 1 glass jar of Spectrum Essentials coconut oil with a plastic wrapper around the metal lid.
- 1 Urban Compost Tumbler with compost tea catcher. The compost tumbler is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. The only new plastic is the tea catcher. Maybe I shouldn’t have purchased this add-on. Looking at it, I realized I could have purchased the hardware from any hardware store and used some other container to catch the leachate. Lesson learned?
And like I said last week, I’m not buying anything new (except of course food) for a long time!