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September 18, 2010

August 2010 Plastic Waste Tally

 

4.2 oz Plastic Waste [4.2 oz new/0 oz acquired prior to June 2007]

Beth Terry's August 2010 Plastic Trash Collection by Beth Terry, on Flickr

I like looking at my plastic collection at the end of each month because it reminds me of some of the experiences I had. August’s collection is about fun times in New York City and even more fun times in my laundry room.

Beth’s August plastic waste collection

New plastic waste (4.2 oz):

  • Plastic NY City Metro Card. Like BART tickets out here in the Bay Area, NYC Metro cards are refillable, but they are also made from plastic and can’t be recycled.
  • Plastic drink cup, straw, and condiment cup and lid. You rarely ever see this kind of stuff in my tally. I thought I was doing so well, until Heather Clisby and I took a break from the BlogHer conference. Downstairs at Ha! Comedy Club, we laughed our heads off and, in compliance with the 2 item minimum, ordered snacks and drinks. My mozzarella sticks came with a plastic container of tomato sauce, and my sparkling water (which I insisted should not come in a plastic bottle) was served in a plastic cup instead with a plastic straw. *Sigh* Dutifully, I wrapped up the used containers and carried them back out to Time Square with me. If only I still drank beer.
  • Plastic mailer from washing machine repair guide.  See last week’s post about taking our washing machine apart.
  • Plastic bag and foam wrap from spanner nut wrench.  See above.
  • 3 plastic envelope windows.  Learn about what plastic envelope windows are made from.
  • Bottle of BalanceIT cat food supplement, cap, scoops, & foam insert. This is the supplement we go through every two months for our homemade cat food. I’ve written to the company several times asking that they not include new scoops in the bottle, and I have yet to hear back from them.
  • Plastic packing tape from thinksound headphones. Read about PVC-free thinksound headphones here.
  • Plastic spool & sticker from EcoDent dental floss package. Read about EcoDent floss and its cardboard package here.
  • Blister pack from Radioshack telephone headphone adapter. I guess this was the month for purchasing electronics. I needed an adapter to plug my headphones into my mobile phone. Needed. Uh huh.
  • Piece of Scotch tape. I think it was on an envelope that came throught the mail, but why I don’t remember.

And there you have it. I’d like to say that September is going to be better, but I’m not sure that’s true. I bought a tiny webcam that came in a great big unnecessary box. Thanks to Lori Wark from Adventures in Climate Change for helping me figure out how to use it today. I’ll have that story and more coming up this week.



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6 comments
Mike
Mike

I just discovered your site today and must say I love the premise. I have a similar site but focused on simple steps to reduce home energy use, so I can identify with your goals. I look forward to reading more and incorporating your ideas into my every day use. I must say I love freecycle for getting "new" items like webcams, but that can't always satisfy immediate needs. i tend to take a realistic approach and realize I can't 'consume' in the perfect way i'd like to, but I try to do my best. Similarly, i realize i can't convince all of my friends to do the same, so I try to give them tips to lessen their impact. i.e. if they are going to buy halloween decorations anyway, at least buy more sustainable ones. One other thought - on my site I often recommend power saving products that are made of plastic. I must say I hadn't really considered the pros and cons of how the products are made. Thanks for opening my eyes!

claire
claire

that makes me think you could probably use phragmite reeds as drinking straws. they grow all over the world, they've taken over most of the cattails that grew on the east coast (they're often confused with cattails), much to my dismay (since cattails have many edible parts).

Perret
Perret

Hi, I like your blog and often come but...why do you buy new things, like a webcam? New things come the most often in a plastic contenant (sorry for the wrong words, I'm french :-) ) . Food have to be new, but webcam ? I also have a question for the straws: in french straw is "paille", it means the same thing that long dry herb you can drink in it. Why buy manufactured (even with glass) item when you just have to walk through the contry and have many straws for nothing ? ;-) Buy, Nath

claire
claire

I didn't realize ecoDent came with a plastic spool, it's great that they reduce the amount of plastic by packaging in paper, but I still feel like, what's the point? you're still left with plastic. I think they could easily make a paper spool at least. now if only a company could pair silk floss (have you ever heard of "peace silk?" it's silk that's harvested without killing the silk worms) or a plant based floss with a completely paper container, we'd be set. oh and I feel like making a note about plastic envelope windows. you mention in your post that they're sometimes made of cellulose, which is true, but the correct term is cellophane, which is a term that has come to be known by it's plastic alternative (used in things like flower and cookie wrapping). the same problem occurs with "cellophane" bags, sometimes they're made from wood pulp, other times plastic, but real cellophane is a somewhat less waterproof, biodegradable alternative to plastic (and was a predecessor to plastic). I want to say that the envelope windows that rip more easily are probably cellophane. the crazy thing about metro cards is that they expire (1 years after purchase date, money can be transferred to a new one 2 years after that). I personally think this is a scheme so they can turn unused funds into profit after 3 years (which may not really be a scheme, but just a way to keep their books in order), but what a horrible idea to turn tons of perfectly reusable pieces of plastic into waste (although most people get a new one every trip anyway, just because they forget or don't know they're reusable). I'm still having the problem with restaurants that I never manage to actually spit out the words "no disposable plastic" or even "no disposables." I end up with those little containers and plastic topped toothpicks all the time. I've learned never to assume that a place doesn't use plastic containers, even if I see little steel containers all around me.

Danielle
Danielle

I am also a big Eco Dent fan. After I used my last plastic container, I went on the hunt for an alternative and was so happy to find Eco Dent. I am really picky about my floss and I REALLY like their product too.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Perret. That is a great question, and in fact, my post today is all about that webcam and why I ended up getting it new. You are right. I try not to buy new things. And I would have found a secondhand webcam... but you'll see why... http://fakeplasticfish.com/2010/09/logitech-webcam-c210-more-packaging-than-product/ Also, I don't know what straw you can get walking through the countryside, but that's cool for you. I don't live in a place where straws grow at the side of the road. :-)

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