Think we can't live without plastic? Think again. In 2007 I committed to stop buying any new plastic & I've almost succeeded! Won't you join me? Let's see what plastic-free looks like today… for the health of our bodies, our oceans, our planet. ~Beth Terry
You’ve heard of paying it forward? This post is about sending it back. And no, I’m not talking about that mean thing that sport fishermen do. I’m referring to unwanted plastic that shows up my my doorstep unsolicited. I’ve decided that in addition to e-mailing or sending a letter to the company, I’m just going to ship it right back to them! So here are a few things I’ve sent back this week:
As many of you know, I’ve been having no luck finding plastic-free cheddar cheese here in the Bay Area. (And no, I haven’t found a deli that will wrap it in plain paper that is not lined with plastic.) Yet cheese is one of the few things I’m not willing to give up. So I decided that I would put my eco-energy into purchasing good quality local organic cheese from happy cows that graze on pasture, rather than hormones, antibiotics, and corn (organic or not); and allow it to be one of my few plastic indulgences. That said,… Read the rest
Disclaimer: This post is NOT an endorsement of DuPont Tyvek. DuPont Tyvek is plastic. According to DuPont, it is “very fine fibers of 100 percent high-density polyethylene that are randomly distributed and nondirectional. These fibers are first flash spun, then laid as a web on a moving bed before being bonded together by heat and pressure – without the use of binders, sizers or fillers.”
All the items down the left side of the page are products in my house made from DuPont Tyvek. I mention Tyvek because many people don’t realize it’s actually plastic and may try and recycle it with their paper. And for those of us trying to reduce our plastic use, it’s important to be aware of anything that is made from plastic.
But what makes Tyvek difficult to avoid is that many Tyvek products come to us unsolicited, especially at work. We might receive Priority Mail and Federal Express deliveries in Tyvek envelopes. CDs might… Read the rest
Well, it is for another 4 hours here on the U.S. west coast. Today, thousands of bloggers throughout the world have agreed to post about some environmental issue. So, I thought maybe I should post something environmental too, for a change. Maybe something about… plastic?
Click here to read what other folks had on their minds regarding the state of planet Earth. This particular post is just so that Fake Plastic Fish can be counted in the Blog Action Day stats. Today’s real post, about recycling Tyvek, is coming up shortly. … Read the rest
I feel like I keep learning the same lesson over and over again. As careful as I am about plastic, it is just so ubiquitous that unless I’m on my toes every minute of the day, I end up with some that I didn’t expect. You’ll see what I mean when I give you this week’s tally:
Non-recyclable items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:
6 Refresh Endura single-use eye drop containers (#4 plastic).
1 Kirkland Signature (Costco brand) paper towel roll wrapper. We have 6 more of these rolls. We try to use paper towels as little as possible but have not yet given them up entirely. And we did buy these before the plastic project began.
1 plastic wrapper from a package of candles. I’ve got to stop cleaning! Okay, I guess that’s not really the lesson I’m to learn. But darnit, every time I clean out a drawer or cabinet I find more plastic packaging to add to the tally!
Congratulations to Al Gore for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s great that people are recognizing that peace and environmental issues are the same thing and that peace is not just treating each other with respect but also the planet.
And congratulations to reader, RubyShooZ, for being the random winner of the ReJavanate reusable shopping bag. Please e-mail me your information so I can send it to you.
I’m heading down the street now for a town hall meeting with Mayor Dellums, and I plan to ask him his opinion on the bottled water issue. Then, I’ll probably come home and take a nap. … Read the rest
I was there outside Oakland City Hall Wednesday morning to kick off the nationwide “Think Outside The Bottle” campaign. Similar press conferences were being held in other cities around the U.S. at the same time. Here are excerpts from the San Francisco Chronicle article that appeared today, supplemented with photos from my camera:
That was the message that tap-water advocates delivered on the steps of Oakland City Hall on Wednesday as part of a nationwide campaign to persuade cities, consumers and restaurants to dump bottled water in favor of old-fashioned municipal water.
Not only is bottled water more expensive, said a group of local government leaders and officials for Corporate Accountability International, the nonprofit sponsoring the campaign, but it often comes from the… Read the rest
My tour of Davis Street Transfer Center continued with a trip to the garbage transfer pit. This is where all of Oakland’s non-recycled garbage is dumped before being transferred in huge trucks to the Altamont Landfill. Just look at it all. You may not be able to tell from the photo how much recyclable material is mixed in with the garbage, but I can assure you that it’s a lot.
LESSON 9: Your hands are the very last human hands that will touch these items before anthropologists dig the stuff up in hundreds of years. That’s pretty much a direct quote from Rebecca Jewell. Contrary to what some people believe, items placed in Oakland garbage bins are never sorted. They are never even touched by human hands once they leave your curb.
Our residential bins are lifted and dumped mechanically into the garbage truck; the truck dumps its load at the transfer station; bulldozers ride over the garbage, compressing it to allow as little air into the… Read the rest
It’s raining tonight. I know I was going to write more about my trip to the transfer center, but it’s raining tonight. Finally. The water is coming down in sheets and our poor thirsty plants are in shock, as are we. I was going to write about something else, but all I can think about is the rain.
Our first big rain of the season is called “first-flush” because the water washes all the debris and pollutants from the land down the storm drains and into the Bay and finally the sea. I don’t know if tonight is our official first-flush, but walking home I saw rivers of water rushing along the curbs and falling into the drains. And there I was in the dark trying to untangle plastic from the grates before it was swept down.
This is the night of reckoning. During the dry days, plastic bottle caps and lighters and straws and plastic bags are merely theoretical threats to marine life. On a night like this, they become real. Tomorrow our streets… Read the rest
As I mentioned in my first post on the subject of recycling, “Wait! Are you sure that’s recyclable?” I’d scheduled a trip to the Davis Street Transfer Center today, the place where all of Oakland’s garbage and compost and much of its recycling is taken before moving on to its next use or final resting place. My tour guide today was Rebecca Jewell, Davis Street’s recycling program manager. And our first stop was the brand new $9 million MRF (Materials Recovery Facility) which processes up to 400 tons of recyclables per day for 12 difference Bay Area jurisdictions.
Unfortunately, I was not aware before I came that while Davis Street accepts my household garbage and compost, a different recycling company, California Waste Solutions, picks up and processes the recycling for my area of Oakland. According to Rebecca, it’s a smaller facility and may not be able to handle as many different materials as the … Read the rest
I already mentioned the unfortunate Styrofoam and Hershey bar incidents this week. Since I already had so much to tally, I decided to give my cupboards a good cleaning, finishing up some old plastic-wrapped foods this week and moving other packaged items into glass jars. So the number of items climbs again this week. Here’s the tally:
Non-recyclable items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:
4 Refresh Endura single-use eye drop containers (#4 plastic).
1 cap wrapper from a glass bottle of Big Paw hot Tuscan olive oil.
1 inside plastic bag from a box of McCann’s steel cut Irish oatmeal. I poured the rest of the oatmeal into a glass jar. From now on, I’ll buy all oatmeal and cereals in bulk.
1 Garofalo spaghetti wrapper. This is my last plastic package of pasta! From now on, I’ll buy all my pasta in bulk.
3 plastic bags from Cuisinart food processor attachments. These were attachments I didn’t even… Read the rest