January 23, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Kristin Overton, Week 42

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Brands of vitamins that are plastic free: does anyone know where there might be a list compiled?

Location:Prince George, British Columbia, Canada

Name: Kristin Overton

Week: 42

Personal Info:

University & working couple plus bunny doing the best we can!

Kristin Overton’s personal blog: http://slightlyirritatingandinconvenient.blogspot.com/

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
Grocery bags at every store I visited
Bulk bags at the grocery store
Bag at fishmonger
Deli paper at butcher’s
Plastic vitamin bottles
Face cream in disposable container
Saffron (bought in glass)
A drink when we went out for dinner- even though I was parched (all their beverages were in plastic of some kind)

Total items collected: 31

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Sadly plastic recycling is not available in our area :(

Items: Nonrecyclable
1. Chocolate wrappers leftover from Christmas
2. 2 Expired/Emptied vitamin bottles
3. 2 Seals from new vitamin bottles
4. Goji berry bag
5. Allspice pouch
6. 2 Pieces tape
7. Gasline antifreeze bottle
8. Wine glass stickies package
9. Makeup tube
10. Lid to glass liqueur bottle
11. Sesame seed pouch
12. Stickers on fruit
13. Pull tab from carton of chicken stock
14. Pull tab from carton of tomato soup
15. Pull tab from carton of almond milk
16. 2 Cheese packages
17. Keytag card
18. Garbage bag (not shown)
19. Curry paste (glass) jar seal
20. Healthy Top carton
21. Lid & seal to liquid calcium bottle
22. Daiya bag
23. 3 Christmas giftcards
24. Jar of face cream
25. Melted Ziploc bag- oops
26. Seal from glass peanut butter jar
27. 2 Bread bags
28. Salad tub
29. Pasta bag
30. Mustard bottle
31. Bandaid wrapper

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
-2 Expired/Emptied vitamin bottles: Some (not all) of our vitamins are available from brands that package in glass
-Goji berry bag: these are available in bulk
-Allspice pouch: this is also available in bulk
-Gasline antifreeze bottle: it doesn’t often go down to -40c overnight, but when it does…
-Wine glass stickies package: there are beautiful wine charms out there sans glass, but we’ve had these for a few years, just never taken them out of the package.
-Makeup tube: looking into this!
-Lid to glass liqueur bottle: we’re paring down… I can make limoncello myself though, no?
-Sesame seed pouch: bulk I suspect
-Pull tab from carton of chicken stock: we usually make our own, but happened to run out & had this “emergency stock”
-Pull tab from carton of tomato soup: I can make this myself from tomatoes I canned in the summer
-Pull tab from carton of almond milk: this is something else I could make if only I had a vitamix…
-2 Cheese packages: I can get some cheeses at our deli (and bring my own container) but I really should cut down!
-Jar of face cream: I bought new cream from Lush which comes in a returnable/refillable pot
-Seal from glass peanut butter jar: I know its possible to make your own/buy bulk, but not where we live :(
-2 Bread bags: this we can make at home where we live though!
-Salad tub: could buy heads of lettuce
-Mustard bottle: available in glass

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
-Chocolate wrappers leftover from Christmas: we gave up individually wrapped candy awhile ago… I didn’t buy these
-Pull tab from carton of chicken stock: not something we normally buy anyways
-Pull tab from carton of tomato soup: not something we normally buy anyways
-Pull tab from carton of almond milk: something we already gave up, but have some left in the house
-Jar of face cream: I could probably handle working around this. I’m not insanely picky about my face care items
-Melted Ziploc bag- oops: we gave up buying new ziploc bags awhile ago, but have lots of old ones we reuse
-Mustard bottle: there are lots of mustard options packaged in glass on the market.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
-2 Expired/Emptied vitamin bottles/2 Seals from new vitamin bottles: Vitamin D for example… we live so far north that we cannot possibly get enough vit d from the sun b/c the angle & hours of daylight… must supplement for optimal health.
-Gasline antifreeze bottle: car starting in -40, or car not starting….
-Stickers on fruit
-Garbage bag (not shown): for now…
-Lid & seal to liquid calcium bottle: see vitamin debate, above.
-Bandaid wrapper: required for working conditions

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
We did some housecleaning last weekend, which ended up making our list this week much larger than it needed to be. Drinking the last of the limoncello because the bottle was too tall to fit into the booze’s new home? Necessary. The purge resulted in less overall consumption rather than solely less plastic consumption. I love the fact that we’re constantly downsizing & donating to those with less. When we move from our home, back to Alberta in a few years we’ll be taking much less stuff with us. I’m excited to see what size of trailer we challenge ourselves to fit our belongings into compared to the one we brought them all here in.

To bring my topic back on track however… time management would help reduce our plastic consumption. Working 2 jobs, plus Mr.C with consistent boatloads of homework leaves us with less “spare time” than might be desired. But really, who wouldn’t like a few extra hours in the day? Just gotta work smarter (and probably sleep less!)

http://www.sunset.com/home/zero-waste-kitchen-video-00418000073296/

This was extremely inspiring & helpful in the meantime. I only wish I lived near a whole foods (were 8 hours away!) or in a climate that could allow me to purchase 10lbs of oranges a week. While I have no desire to live in the US, I would love a growing climate like California. I should start planning my spring “crops” in the meantime…

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Chicken stock in a plastic package of any kind including (but not limited to) cartons of liquid & containers of powder (we do have some of this currently). Gluten free bouillion cubes are available at our natural foods store if we absolutely need them, and they’re packaged in foil & a cardboard box. There’s no need for stock in any other form. I much prefer using that which I have made myself anyways.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

http://slightlyirritatingandinconvenient.blogspot.com/2012/01/weeks-worth-of-plastic-week-42.html

4 comments
Kristin
Kristin

Thanks Julie, I had heard that better than bouillIon was gf, but we very rarely use anything but homemade. I feel like its good to have an "emergency stash" hiding out in the kitchen somewhere just in case :)

Julie
Julie

I'm a big fan of Better Than Bouillon for any recipe that calls for stock. It's a concentrated paste that comes in an 8oz glass jar with metal lid. Each jar makes at least 9 quarts of broth. It's hard to find online, but worth asking if your local stores can stock it. I don't know if all the flavors are gluten-free, but the chicken, beef, mushroom, turkey, and vegetable definitely are. Not as good as homemade, but FAR superior to bouillon cubes!

Kristin
Kristin

Thanks for checking that out Beth. There are a lot of different brands in the US than in Canada... We have NewChapter here, Vitamin code and SISU are the same (glass, with plastic caps) but we can't get everything we "need"... I should talk with our health food store & see if they can bring in a wider selection within these brands :)

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Kristin, Solgar (http://www.solgar.com/) vitamins come in amber glass bottles with metal lids, but as I recall from seeing them on the shelf at Whole Foods, there is a clear plastic security wrapper around the whole bottle. Still, that's a lot less plastic than a plastic bottle.

New Chapter Organics (http://www.newchapter.com) vitamins come in dark glass, but they do have plastic caps.

PhysioLogics (http://www.physiologics.com/)just switched to glass for environmental reasons, but you can only get them through your doctor.

This site says that Olympian Labs vitamins are packaged in Amber glass (http://www.upscalevitamins.com/)with plastic caps.

There are probably more. Try Googling: brand of vitamins amber glass bottle. Or take out the word amber.