August 24, 2011

Plastic Challenge: Kristin, Week 22

IMG_5081 10-34-31

Dishsoap- I just polished off my giant refill bag. Any suggestions (other than not using it)?

Garbage bags- we’re starting to run low on our ancient stash of grocery store bags that we’ve been using for this purpose, but I don’t feel like we’re close enough to needing NO garbage bags… my understanding is that the biodegradable bags don’t actually biodegrade in the landfill- what’s a girl to do?

Location:Prince George, British Columbia, Canada

Name: Kristin

Week: 22

Personal Info:

Couple in Prince George, BC working & attending university plus bunny.

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

Total items: 36

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Plastic recycling is not available in our area, it sadly all goes in the trash.

Items: Nonrecyclable
1. Packaging from coat rack (not shown)
2. Garbage bag (not shown)
3. Lid to glass jar of vitamins
4. Tag off of socks
5. 2 Daiya bags
6. GF Patisserie flour bag
7. Bag from pizza crust mix
8. Fizz candy wrappers (old)
9. Boston Pizza takeout container “gifted” containing raspberries
10. Plastic from case of canning jars
11. 2 Packages of wooden hangers
12. Deli meat bag x 3
13. Almond milk pull tab
14. Credit card
15. Seal from glass bottle of sauce
16. Hardware bag from Ikea furniture purchase 1 year+ ago
17. 5 bottles expired vitamins
18. Expired tube of facial treatment
19. Empty bronzer compact
20. Gauze package from piercer
21. Uncontaminated oats bag (was reused, no longer functional)
22. Electrical tape from “bunnyproofing” efforts
23. Mango & avocado stickers
24. Yogurt container
25. 2 plastic sheets from canning labels (came with jars)
26. Seal from bottle of Gravol
27. 2 Bread bags w/tags
28. 2 Cheese wrappers
29. Ice bag (old)
30. Refill dishsoap bag
31. Bubble mailer
32. Produce bag
33. Corn tortilla bag
34. 4 restaurant straws (not shown)
35. Chicken package
36. Sprouts container

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
-Bag from pizza crust mix: for a blog post!
-Fizz candy wrappers (old): leftover from halloween I think
-Plastic from case of canning jars: none were available in cardboard only at the time of purchase, but I could have purchased them elsewhere.
-2 Packages of wooden hangers: found the next day at another retailer in a box- ugh.
-Deli meat bag x 3: need to start planning ahead for this!
-5 bottles expired vitamins: some of the bottles we own are glass with metal lids, but these were not.
-Expired tube of facial treatment (old): wont be repurchasing
-Empty bronzer compact: this brand is the least plastic packaged I have found to date.
-Mango & avocado stickers: most of the fruit we are purchasing these days is local and stickerless, but these items certainly do not grow in our climate!
-Yogurt container: not a frequent purchase- a treat!
-Seal from bottle of Gravol: there were no plastic-less options & there was a matter of urgency
-2 Bread bags w/tags: these were old out of the freezer- I’m baking bread this week!
-Ice bag (old): we do keep a stash of ice in the freezer for camping trips etc. I believe this bag was purchased out of town on the way home at Christmas.
-Refill dishsoap bag: reduced plastic option already- looking into something better.
-Produce bag: I hate that this one guy at the farmers market sells his stuff prebagged. He’s a grouchy old guy that I’m kind of scared to even talk to. I don’t buy his stuff often…
-4 restaurant straws (not shown): Le Sigh….
-Sprouts container: was on sale, don’t usually buy. Didn’t actually eat the sprouts, so we wont be buying again.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
-Packaging from coat rack
-Expired tube of facial treatment
-4 restaurant straws (not shown)
-Sprouts container

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
-Garbage bag (not shown)
-Lid to glass jar of vitamins
-Tag off of socks: pretty sure ALL socks come in some sort of packaging with a hang tag, no?
-GF Patisserie flour bag: or other gluten free flours for that matter- bulk is not an option when allergies are involved.
-Credit card: not “essential”- the cc company mailed me a new updated one, even though I got a new one less than a year ago when the old one expired. “Improved security” via the chip with pin #….
-Empty bronzer compact: my job requires me to have a decent looking face. Damn my father’s pasty white genetics…
-Gauze package from piercer: there’s no way around medical supplies… I am reusing some supplies from my last piercing on this one though
-Electrical tape from “bunnyproofing” efforts: necessary for lamps to survive in our house.
-Refill dishsoap bag: thoughts?

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Lots of this weeks stuff was old/accumulated/found around the house. There definitely was some slacking on my part with the grocery purchasing, but we’re back on track now.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Sprouts-we don’t ever buy these, and didn’t actually eat this package of them anyways. We could always sprout our own beans/grains if we really wanted to…

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

http://slightlyirritatingandinconvenient.blogspot.com/2011/08/weeks-worth-of-plastic-week-22.html

3 comments
Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Great suggestion, Margaret. I'm going to try that.

Margaret
Margaret

For dishsoap, I just starting trying soap nuts "soak" - making a liquid by boiling and soaking them overnight to get an infused liquid.

http://www.laundrytree.com/using-soapnuts/soapnut-soak.html

I ordered online from Laundry Tree because Beth had a post about its plastic-free packaging, but I've seen it on lots of other websites from other companies as well. I can't remember if I've seen it in an actual store.

I made the liquid to use as laundry detergent*, and it seems to work well for dish soap as well (and cleaning). It gets grease almost as well as Dr. Bronners (and my stove top was disgusting, and it worked very well for cleaning that).

I'm curious if it might work for dishwasher detergent as well.

My only concern is that their website says to put it in the fridge if keeping it around for more than a week or two (which I was doing with the batch I made for laundry and storing in a canning jar), and I think I put more than a week or two's worth of dish soap in my dispenser. I'd feel weird keeping my soap dispenser in the fridge. So I'll see if it starts molding or something after a couple weeks.

*I made the liquid for laundry because I wash in cold water, and it needs hot water to get all soapy.

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

Hi Kristin. Re: garbage bags... what is actually going in the garbage bags? Dry stuff like plastic wrappers don't need to go in a bag unless your community absolutely requires it. Then you have left the wet stuff. Ideally you would compost that stuff to keep it out of the landfill. Would you consider a composter or worm bin? If that's not an option, then how about using the plastic containers or bags that are just getting thrown out anyway. Or ask your friends for their used bags and containers. Or put an ad on Freecycle for used plastic bags. Or collect the ones you see blowing down the street. But you're right... compostables including compostable bags don't belong in the landfill.

We hand wash dishes with baking soda. Really. It works well. We also use powdered dish detergent in the dishwasher.