So many giveaways. So many winners. There’s one more quick weekend giveaway at the bottom of this post, and an announcement for next week.
Show Your Plastic Challenge Winner
In the beginning of the year, we held a Show Your Plastic Trash Challenge contest. Those who participated for a month were entered to win a beautiful gift package from Ambatalia Fabrics. That winner is Sarah Schmiechen from Indiana. Here she is with part of her winnings from Ambatalia. Of the challenge, Sarah says,
I’m very excited about this prize because one of the hardest things for us to reduce during the challenge was plastic produce bags. We’re going to start keeping a lot of the cloth bags in the car and hopefully that will help! I loved doing the challenge regardless of the prize though – it’s really made some permanent changes in the way we do things on a day to day basis at home (for example, no more Brita filters, no more paper towels, buying more items in bulk with jars) and the way I think about buying new items.
While the contest is over, the challenge is ongoing. If you’ve been thinking about participating, now is a good time. I’ve found a way to automate the process (once again Google to the rescue) so that your posts will get published faster than ever. Check out the new Google map on the challenge page showing the geographical location of participants. (No, you won’t find out their addresses. No worries.) Do you live in an underrepresented area? Please help us fill in the map.
Ruchi’s “Is It Plastic?” Contest
In the end of January, Ruchi from Arduous Blog had a list of products that she wasn’t sure were or were not plastic. The winner of that contest is Claire. She wins a Chico Bags Daypack made from rePETe recycled material. It’s a bag I received at the TEDx conference last October and have never used because I already have a zillion bags. Just spreading the wealth.
So, here are my answers to Ruchi’s questions…
1) Silicone contact lenses? It depends on your definition of plastic. For purposes of this blog, plastic is a polymer based on organic chemicals (carbon and hydrocarbons) usually derived from fossil sources like oil and natural gas (although recently some companies like Pepsi have found a way to derive those materials from plant sources.) Silicone, on the other hand, is a polymer based on a combination of organic and inorganic materials, the inorganic material being silicon, or sand. I would assume that the organic ingredients also come from fossil sources. Yes, it’s technically plastic. But whether or not it’s safer or better than organically-based plastic, I don’t know. Supposedly it is more stable. But I have a lot more research to do on silicone.
2) The tetra-pak soy milk? Tetrapaks (aka aseptic packaging) are the boxes that sit unrefrigerated on the shelf and hold anything from soy milk to soup or even wine. Juice boxes are tetrapaks. And yes, they contain plastic. In fact, they contain multiple layers: plastic, cardboard, aluminum, cardboard, plastic, which makes them difficult to recycle.
3) The non-tetra pak lemonade carton? Yes, cardboard cartons, the kind that must be refrigerated, are also lined inside and out with plastic. Many people assume it’s wax, but it’s actually polyethylene. Ruchi also wants to know why they are allowed in her compost bin if they are coated with plastic. That’s a good question. I think various municipalities are reconsidering whether they should go in the bin or not. According to an article in the East Bay Express, Berkeley’s compost facilities don’t want them anymore because they are not breaking down. And finally, why doesn’t Recology (San Francisco’s recycling company) make better pictures? Because, we are not all artists like you, Ruchi.
4) My magazines? I guess it depends on what magazine. They are made from coated paper. The coating for magazine paper is usually made from clay, but according to Wikipedia, the clay may be bound to the paper using various materials, some of which are synthetic. So there could be some plastic I guess. I haven’t called a magazine house.
5) The glossy stuff on books? Do you mean on the cover? Most likely yes. It’s plastic. Here’s a page about various types of coatings for book covers.
6) Confetti? There are different kinds of confetti. Some confetti is paper. Some is mylar, which is a metallic looking plastic.
7) Glitter? Same answer as confetti. Glitter could be paper, plastic, or metal.
8) How am I supposed to tell if little shiny things on my invitations are plastic or not?! Um… taste them? Personally, I just avoid shiny doodads these days, wherever they appear, assuming that most of them are plastic. Do your remember my post about obsessively removing the plastic beads from some tops? That was extreme. But anyway, if you’ve already ordered them, and you love them, chill out.
9) Meltdowns? Claire says, “Meltdowns are entirely NOT plastic (unless you were to speak literally of “melting down” plastic), they’re part of your brain which is (hopefully) completely plastic free, unless you have some kind of implant.” Claire, of course, is referring to the plastic material. But if you’re using plastic as an adjective, then yes, it is very plastic. “Neuroplasticity refers to the ability of the brain to change as a result of one’s experience, that the brain is ‘plastic’ and ‘malleable’.” You can mitigate meltdowns through meditation, or so I am told. :-)
10) Our planet? Once again, noun or adjective? There’s a lot of plastic here, but a lot of other materials too. And the planet definitely has the ability to change and adapt. Whether it adapts to the benefit of humans or not is a different story. That depends on us, right?
Plastic: A Toxic Love Story book
The winner of the book Plastic: A Toxic Love Storyis Carmen Melton. In that contest, you guys asked a ton of questions as well. I don’t have the answers to those questions today, but I will in future posts or in my upcoming book. Thank you for letting me know what still needs to be asked and answered. And by the way, if you didn’t win, please find a way to read Plastic:A Toxic Love Story! Buy it or get it from the library. It will answer a lot of the questions you have about plastic.
Ban the Plastic Bag book
The winner of the book, Ban the Plastic Bag, is Ellen. She collects muddy bags she finds blowing down the street and uses them as poop bags. She posted this photo on the My Plastic-free Life Facebook page. Pet poop is a challenge. Buying compostable bags for something you’re just going to send to the landfill is pointless and possibly worse than using plastic bags. I think pet poop is a good use for muddy plastic bags that would have polluted the environment or ended up in the landfill anyway.
Weekend Guilty Giveaway
I have another surprise giveaway since the last one went so well. THIS WEEKEND ONLY. Here is how you get points in the giveaway:
1) Leave a comment here about one thing you feel guilty about. No, I’m not encouraging guilt. Guilt is not helpful, and I always say that. Still, most of us find ourselves beating ourselves up over one thing or another. So, let us know what that one thing is (mine is long hot showers) and maybe the rest of us will suggest ways to deal with the problem and therefore the guilt.
2) Tweet your eco-confession, and be sure and include @PlasticfreeBeth and the hashtag #ecoconfession.
3) Post your eco-confession on the My Plastic-free Life facebook page.
The prize is related to the theme of guilt, conscience, and confessions. And it’s very cool. That’s all I’m going to say.
Next Week’s Giveaway
Next week, I’m comparing eco toothbrushes and giving away some of each. There are plastic-free toothbrushes, recycled plastic toothbrushes, and toothbrushes that are mostly plastic-free but do have some plastic after all. There may be a few others in the mix as well.