February 10, 2011

Rebecca M, Week 3

Rebecca's plastic waste

Name: Rebecca

Week: 3

Personal Info:
Read all about me in my Week 1 Challenge Post.

Total items: 25

Total weight: 9.6 ounces

Items: Recyclable
1 – set of packaging materials from my (ahem) replacement Diva Cup
1 – tiny zip lock bag from sinus nose cones

Items: Nonrecyclable
1 – Plastic liner from bag of cat food
1 – top of bag of cat vitamins
1 – Cheese wrapper
1 – lighter
1 – package from new lighter
1 – broken and disgusting dish brush
1 – package of dental floss
1 – mailer from prescription
1 – bubble mailer from sinus nose cones
1 – q tip
6 – breath right strips
6 – stickers from fruit
1 – League of Women Voters sticker

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
The lighters. I buy these for lighting candles and I started getting them because they are long enough to reach down to the bottom of the candles in glass jars (I get candles in glass jars because they seem like less of a fire risk, which, if you’ve been following along here is sorta important for me…) Anyhow, I think they make long matches, so I’ve just gotta find some.

Dish Brush. I’ve already replaced this with a wooden brush with natural fibers. Woo Hoo!

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
Sticker… I’m going to endeavor to get off of their mailing list.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
Hmmm… well…

Breath Right strips. I tried… I really tried, but the sinus nose cones were a total fail. The instructions say once you insert them you’ll notice an immediate opening of your nasal passages. So I inserted them and noticed an immediate inability to breath!

Dental floss. I’ve tried silk floss, but it was a disaster. The only kind I can use is the flat, smooth “reach” variety that is un-shredable, because otherwise it breaks and gets stuck between my teeth.

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Maybe I could pick up the prescription at the pharmacy instead of having it mailed. I’ll have to think about that. Generally the wait at the Kaiser pharmacy is over an hour and you have to sit in a room full of sick people. Not an idea that a relish.

I’m also torn about ordering things online. I got my replacement Diva Cup on Amazon where it was $12 cheaper than the one I bought at Whole Foods… and it had super saver shipping, but I needed to add something to the order in order to qualify. Soooo, I found Mr. Smoky Bear’s (AKA Mr. Picky’s) favorite cat food for nearly $10 per case less than we usually pay. Anyhow, I’m torn on that one… if you order from etsy or ebay I can see asking for non plastic packaging, but I don’t think Amazon can do that.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
The dish brush… already have.

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?
Well… I tried to find non-plastic dish scrubbers, and was so excited to find a company called Twist which makes all sorts of wonderful stuff. BUT… when I found their products at the store, they were all wrapped in plastic shrink wrap! Say it with me now…. AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!

So I wrote them a little email and pointed out the contradiction between marketing plastic-free biodegradable items packaged in plastic. No response from them, but I voiced my opinon and told them I wouldn’t be buying their products unless and until they get rid of the plastic packaging.

One More Question:
If anybody knows where to find long matches I’d the thrilled.

5 Responses to “Rebecca M, Week 3”

  1. Hi Fonda,

    I actually do use something very similar to a neti pot every night. It’s WONDERFUL! But… I still need the strips or else I wake up not breathing several times a night. I guess I’m a hopeless case when it comes to sinuses! I’ve decided that I can live with a little bit of plastic if it means being able to breathe.

  2. Fonda LaShay says:

    Hi Hi!

    I know I am chiming in late here, but had a comment or the sinuses.

    Have you tried a neti pot? It is essentially a tiny teapot that you irrigate your sinus’ with everyday with saltwater. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasal_irrigation I think that it works wonders! Just and idea to maybe try to help with the sinus’ and breathing strips :)

    This is the one I have. They have ceramic ones, but I did not want to chance I would drop it and break it. http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Steel-Neti-Ayurvedic-JalNeti/dp/B001187IDC

  3. The comparison of matches vs. lighters was eye opening. There just aren’t any pure answers are there? Maybe I should get a flint & steel? :~)

    Anyhow, I discovered that the lighter (not the one pictured here, but the one that came out of the package… which I have several more of in my stockpile) is actually re-fillable. So I bought a can of butane and when this one gets empty I will endeavor to refill it – let’s hope I don’t burn the house down!

    I placed another order on Amazon (for a heated bowl and outdoor heating pad for the little feral cat living under my tree – I know it uses electricity, but I just can’t take constantly worrying about her freezing under there.) Anyhow, the shape of the items meant that it came in a big box with lots of extra room, only instead of the plastic packaging they generally use, they used brown paper. Psych! The cats thought it was a toy just for them, and spent the afternoon having a paper party. Anyhow, I now know that they at least have the capability to use paper, so I’ll ask next time.

    In terms of dish stuff, I got a wooden handled brush with natural fibers and it’s working great. I also bought some burlap and am going to attempt to make my own scrubbies. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

    Still torn on the pharmacy thing. When the doctor calls in a prescription she can call it in to the “upstairs” pharmacy where there’s generally not a wait, but when you refill one they send it to the “downstairs” pharmacy where the hour-long wait is just to get to the head of the line where the thing is waiting. And I do have to drive there, but I could combine trips… Still thinking about that one.

    Hope you’re feeling better!

  4. Beth Terry says:

    Hi Rebecca. I’ve seen long matches in the same section where they sell fireplace logs. I haven’t not found any that are not shrink-wrapped in plastic, but it’s less plastic than that plastic lighter.

    I wrote a post once comparing matches and lighters to find which was more eco-friendly. You might find it interesting:


    Prescriptions: I pick up my prescriptions from Kaiser for exactly that reason! But I don’t have to wait. I email my doctor to refill my prescription and then it’s waiting for me when I get there. I call first to make sure it’s there. One question to consider though is how far Kaiser is from your house. I can just ride my bike down to Oakland Kaiser. I wouldn’t make a special car trip to do it (although I actually rented a Zip Car yesterday for just that purpose because I’m sick as a dog with this cold and just couldn’t bring myself to get down there any other way — and I couldn’t wait on picking it up. Fortunately, the car was a Prius.)

    I don’t think Amazon will give you non-plastic packaging, but you can always send them a message requesting it. The more they hear from customers who don’t want plastic, the more likely they might be to change their shipping policies.

    I agree with you about Twist! They originally didn’t have any plastic packaging!

    I like Skoy cloths:


    And I like the coconut scrubbers like these:


    I use the bottle brush to clean my Klean Kanteen.