1.6 oz Plastic Waste [1.6 oz new/0 oz acquired prior to June 2007]
November brought new clothes (see below), a TEDx presentation, and all kinds of nutty experiments that I’ll be writing about in December. It also means 2010 is almost over. I had hoped to keep my plastic waste under 2 pounds this year (last year’s was 3.7 pounds) but sadly, that’s not going to happen. I’m already up to 1.99, and ironically, part of November’s plastic waste is the indirect result of the TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch conference early this month.
Not really. I’m making excuses, as you’ll see.
Beth’s November plastic waste collection
Plastic purchased before June 15 2007 and used up in the last month (.5 oz):
- Nothing. This month, it’s all new plastic.
New plastic waste (1.6 oz):
- Plastic packing tape from package ordered from Hempest.com. I am aware of the stereotype that women love to shop for clothes and will do it for sport. I am not one of those women. I hate analyzing myself in the fitting room mirror. I hate trying to understand the latest styles (just give me something comfortable with lots of pockets. I’d live in cargo pants if I could.) And nowadays, shopping is even more of a drag because I’m trying to avoid synthetic (read: plastic) fabrics. Plus, I’ve gained weight in the last three years, so shopping is even more of a drag.
All this adds up to the dilemma I faced trying to figure out what to wear for my TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch presentation. I looked in my closet 15 times hoping I’d discover some new outfit I’d forgotten about, which is silly because my closet is not that big. I went to the mall. I went to boutique stores. Anything that looked good was made from acrylic or polyester or some other plastic fabric. Anything made from natural fibers was too expensive or too small. (As I and my friends discovered, eco-friendly clothing tends to be made for skinny bodies — unless you’re just looking for hoodies and sweat pants.)
So anyway, I finally discovered a cool online shop called Hempest.com, which sells cute clothing made from organic cotton, hemp, and other natural fibers. At my wits end, I took a chance and ordered a few tops in large and extra large and prayed they would fit, requesting no plastic packaging in the box. The tops fit. The box contained no plastic on the inside but was covered with plastic tape on the outside. It’s still the rare vendor that will switch to paper tape, but I’m working on it.
- One big fat cheese wrapper. What can I say? The cheese got the better of me. Some nameless person bought it and let it sit in the refrigerator for weeks and weeks, unopened and unloved, taunting me. I mean, who buys cheese and doesn’t eat it? So, one night, stressed out about the TEDx conference and what I was going to wear, I broke into it. The comfort was momentary. The wrapper will last forever. Desperation gets the best of us sometimes.
- One square of plastic wrap. After arriving in L.A. on Friday, I thought I would treat myself to room service lunch at the hotel — something I never do. When asked what I wanted to drink, I said, “Nothing. I don’t want anything to drink.” So naturally my meal arrived accompanied by a glass of water with a piece of plastic wrap on top. I didn’t want the water in the first place, but I accepted it and drank it because it would have been tossed out anyway and because I was too tired to get into an argument. The irony of coming to a conference devoted to plastic waste and ending up with another piece of plastic to add to my stash was not lost on me.
- Two plastic-tipped toothpicks. From the same room service meal. These were holding my sandwich together — for all of 5 minutes, or however long it took to bring it up to my room from the kitchen.
- 2 vials of Frontline flea treatment for cats. Read about our flea dilemma here. I’ve gotten suggestions to try rubbing diatomaceous earth directly on the cats’ fur, but honestly, I don’t want to breathe that stuff, or allow my cats to breathe it. Lung disease vs cancerous tumors? *Sigh*
- 4 plastic envelope windows from bank notices, Social Security, & IRS.Learn about what plastic envelope windows are made from. And yes, I’ve requested online access, but this particular account doesn’t offer it yet.
- One prescription bottle and cap. Preserve’s Gimme5 program will accept these #5 bottles for recycling. But sadly, the state of California will not allow pharmacies to refill them, which would be the ideal solution to me.
- Hotel key card. From a hotel I stayed in a couple of months ago. I forgot to turn it in when I left.
- Plastic cap and threads from a tube of Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. The aluminum tube can be returned to Tom’s for recycling. Read more about my less-plastic dental regimen here.
That’s it for November. December is always tricky, what with holiday gift giving. Hopefully, I’ve got my friends and family trained not to buy me a bunch of stuff I don’t need and that will inevitably come packaged in plastic.