Archive for December, 2007

December 31, 2007

Week 28 Results: 2.9 oz. of plastic

The plastic is up off the floor and onto the table, thanks to a couple of curious kitties. Christmas is over, and so is the year, almost. Here’s the weekly tally, which includes all the rest of the plastic packaging from the holidays except for one notable exception. In order to keep peace in the family, I’m not showing or mentioning or including a particular group of packages from one person that arrived thoroughly covered in and filled with plastic. After agonizing for a few hours, I finally allowed Michael to just take it all to work and share it with his co-workers. And except for writing this paragraph, I’m pretending it never existed.

So here’s the tally:

Non-recyclable items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:

3 plastic cable ties I removed while organizing for the kitties.

Plastic lid from a box of holiday cards I used up this year. Next year, I’ll make my own greeting cards from recycled… Read the rest

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December 27, 2007

Kitty Love, by Soots & Arya

Okay, here’s the thing. We are Soots and Arya, and we don’t like to be awoken suddenly from our nice nap by some big flashing, bright light. So we give you face like this. Not our fault. We are infinitely cute, as you will see.

Beth woke us up to help with her blog because, as she said, it was our fault that she was having too much fun with us to blog for the last few days. Wait, did she say fun? Maybe she said she was too tired from chasing us off her desk all day. When she gets cranky, she tosses us across the floor, but we know she doesn’t mean it so we keep coming back again to cheer her up.

Our new friend David came over tonight and taught us how to do an immensely fun thing. We have expert skills of climbing and this proves that we will soon make it to the top of the drapes, which is the goal of our lives. David says that this activity doesn’t hurt humans long as they’re wearing heavy jeans. Beth doesn’t wear heavy jeans. Oh well.

I am Soots… Read the rest

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December 23, 2007

Week 27 Results: 4.4 oz of plastic, kitties not included.

Kitties are here! So is the weekly tally and the start of the holiday plastic. More next week, but hopefully not too much more.

Non-recyclable items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:

3 hunks of packing tape from broken down boxes. Cleaning up for the kitties, I’ve been consolidating the contents of and recycling cardboard boxes.
1 piece of plastic wrap found in a box while organizing shelves.
1 air pillow also found in a box.

So that’s all the old stuff. Now for the new plastic waste.

4 Refresh Endura single-use eye drop containers (#4 plastic).
1 plastic wrapper from a packet of 50 AMC movie tickets I bought as gifts for family members. I really thought the tickets would be completely plastic-free (aside from the fact that the movies themselves are basically plastic, a subject I covered in my Nov 28 post.)
1 bit of plastic from a bunch of organic fair-trade bananas.
1 piece of tape from a package of custom cloth pantiliners… Read the rest

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December 20, 2007

Evert Fresh Update

In my November 7 post about Evert Fresh bags, I expressed my frustration that people seeking to go plastic-free were buying these bags, believing that the bags were not made from petroleum-based plastic. I explained that this mistaken belief came from misleading or missing information on various web sites.

I’m now happy to report that after many emails and phone calls to these companies, at least three web sites have been updated with the correct information. Greenfeet was the first to fix their listing on Amazon.com, rewording the description to state that the “bags are made from a low-density polyethylene plastic (#4) impregnated with a natural clay based mineral that absorbs ethylene.” Now, it appears that while Greenfeet still sells the bags on its own site, it is no longer selling them through Amazon.com.

Amazon seller 877MYJUICER also changed the product description to say that the “bags are made from low-density… Read the rest

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December 19, 2007

Plastic-free yogurt? Well, almost. Plus ways to use whey.

Turns out we do have an almost plastic-free prepared yogurt here in the SF Bay Area. Saint Benoît yogurt comes in a reusable, returnable ceramic container and is sold at Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl, and other natural foods stores. As with the Straus milk containers, you pay a deposit which the store refunds when you return the container. The containers are covered with foil tops, which can be reused until the yogurt is gone, and have a small plastic seal around the rim. That’s way less plastic than buying yogurt in disposable polypropylene containers, but I’ve found a better way.

I thought that in order to make yogurt myself, I needed to invest in a yogurt machine. Not worth it considering the small amount of yogurt we eat. But then Melanie Rimmer of Bean Sprouts revealed a brilliant method of making yogurt with only a Thermos in her post, How To Make Greek Yogurt. You should check out her post to see photos of the step by step process. Here are… Read the rest

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December 18, 2007

I’m not the only one thinking about tape lately.

There was a very serious message on my answering machine this morning from my sister, Ellen, who was worried about the Christmas present she was wrapping to send me. “Help. I’m standing here paralyzed. I reused the wrapping that you used for my present last year, I got a cardboard box, I filled the empty space with scrap paper, I thought you would be so proud, and then I went to tape the box shut… with plastic. Please tell me what to do. I’m serious. I respect what you’re doing. I don’t want to send you something that you don’t want. But I can’t finish packaging your gift. Please call me back.”

This message was heart-breaking. I never, ever want to cause such distress to the family that I love. But it was also really sweet to hear how hard she was trying to send me a plastic-free gift. Of course I called her back and told her to use whatever tape she had and not worry about it. And I thanked her profusely for… Read the rest

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December 18, 2007

Wrapping presents without tape or glue

Here are two Christmas presents I received tonight from a company I work for, each containing at least 4 pieces of Scotch (plastic) tape. One thing my friends and family know about me is that I can’t wait to open presents, and tonight was no exception. So I justified my impatience by resolving to figure out a way to re-wrap the same presents using no tape or glue at all.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been searching the web for instructions, hoping to find a way to wrap gifts without any tape OR ribbon. I even went to Borders after work tonight to look for a book on gift-wrapping, to no avail. The couple of books I found required double-sided tape. So I decided I’d just have to figure it out myself. I got part of the way there. The method I discovered does require some ribbon to hold it in place, but nothing sticky.

Why, you may ask, am I making a big deal out of something as petty as a little bit of tape? Well, I guess it’s not a huge deal when you look … Read the rest

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December 16, 2007

Week 26 Results: 1.0 oz of plastic.

The amount of plastic is back down again, weighing less than ever. This is the 26th week, the end of the first 6 months, and you’ll notice that the graph looks somewhat different.

From now on, I’ll still photograph and tally my waste each week, but the graph is going to show one bar for every 4 weeks so that I can fit a year’s worth in the same amount of space. Tomorrow, I’ll photograph and tally everything that I’ve collected since the project began. Here’s the list for this week:

Non-recyclable items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:

1 Trader Joe’s Nori Maki rice crackers bag. Found in the back of the cupboard, totally stale. Didn’t even realize I still had them.

1 cap from a prescription bottle.

1 Emergen-C packet. Another find, this time in my suitcase. Didn’t realize I had any left.

1 wrapper from a bar of rose-scented soap. A gift from a friend. As far as I can tell,… Read the rest

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December 14, 2007

Plastic-free Feminine Hygiene. It had to happen enventually.

Since I had my hysterectomy in June, (Wow! She just jumps right in with the personal stuff, huh?) I have been relieved not to have to deal too much with the issue of plastic-free feminine hygiene products. At the time I started blogging, Crunchy Chicken was running her Diva Cup Challenge and I was happy not to have to consider whether or not to participate.

The Diva Cup, for those who still have not heard about it, is a silicone contraption, kinda like a diaphragm I guess, that you wear inside once a month, rinse out, and reuse. The environmentally-friendly thing about it is that you don’t have any tampon or pad waste each month. But what is silicone?

The Dow Corning web site says that it is “a unique synthetic elastomer made from a cross-linked polymer which is reinforced with silica.” Web MD says it’s “A polymer of organic silicon oxides, which may be a liquid, gel, or solid, depending on the extent of polymerization.”… Read the rest

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December 12, 2007

The Perfection of Imperfection

I was going to post about feminine hygiene today. Don’t worry guys. You can read on safely. I’ll save that post for later. Instead, I’m inspired to write based on a beautiful post that I read this morning from blogger Chandra Sherin at Moonseeds.*  I just happened upon it while scanning blogs for the subject of plastic.

Chandra relates a story about being less than perfect in her struggle to find alternatives to plastic. She writes:

I look at the packaging of my breads, chips, toothpaste, apples, vegetables in my hands, and two of my reusable shopping bags are made of nylon which is made with oil, just as the baggies are for dog walks… I realize this… The truth of the situation is that if I were to live separate from plastic, I would not be living in this society. There is no purity, there is no perfection in this world. Our connections are linked and threaded through so deeply, there is no extrication of anything from anything… Read the rest

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