waterproof/resistant small carrying, prescriptions, large rubbermaid, detergent | Plastic-Free Discussion Board

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waterproof/resistant small carrying, prescriptions, large rubbermaid, detergent
November 29, 2011 - 2:37 pm

starting to get to smaller, harder items to purge from my plastic diet.


i bike commute in wet weather, use a small ziplock bag to keep my wallet contents dry. cotton duck i've heard is a good water resistant fabric, but not sure if they make bags out of it in such small sizes


you've mentioned prescriptions before. but i think, at this point, there must be a pharmacy willing to accommodate plastic-free customers, such as a mail order service, every 3 months, delivered in paper bags instead?


i am going to start deliver more goods by bike, people often use huge rubbermaid bins on top of a bike trailer to do so. they are modular, weather proof, tough, lightweight. any other bin that can come close to those attributes?


i get bulk laundry detergent, soap. but its difficult carrying aroudn multiple glass jars without breaking one. maybe steel jars with good sealing? also, on the laundry detergent, the lid and bottle work perfectly for dispensing at a laundromat with little mess. anyway to combine a light non plastic container with a measuring cup that won't leak on the way back home?


thanks as always. i ask these obscure ones as they might come up someday for someone else.

November 30, 2011 - 7:15 am

Is your detergent liquid or powder?  I use powder, and if I had to haul it around, I'd look for a lightweight metal canister.  It wouldn't matter if the seal was perfect.  For measuring, I have a wooden scoop that probably came wrapped in plastic.  But you could think about re-purposing a coffee scoop or tablespoon — check thrift stores if you don't have extra.


If you're using liquid — maybe a small mason jar?  The tempered glass is fairly tough, and you don't have to carry more than you need for that day's laundry.  Even the half-pint jars have marks on the sides for volume, so with a bit of practice you can learn just how much to use per load.  And those two-piece lids are reliably leak-proof.


For bike deliveries, check thrift stores for the old style metal trunks.  I think they're called footlockers.  Heavier than plastic, but durable and large.  I don't think they're waterproof in a flood.


Cotton will wick water.  Wool is more water resistant, as is polyester fleece.  For a wallet-sized bag, I'd look at cutting up a worn-out garment or a dog-chewed blanket.  Maybe you even have a tarp or windbreaker that's outlived its usefulness?  But I don't think cotton duck is what you need.  I have a cotton duck shower curtain, and it holds quite a bit of water, which wouldn't keep your paper money dry.  It works as a shower curtain because the water can't spray through it and has to drain down into the tub.

Eve Stavros
November 30, 2011 - 1:56 pm

For laundry, I have fallen in love with soap nuts (Beth has a source in her Resources section, I believe it's Laundry Tree). They are all natural (from a tree), lightweight, reusable (about 5 times) and compostable.  Plus I love the cute little cotton sack you throw them into the machine in. I use them at home, or when I travel. 

December 8, 2011 - 1:45 pm

i looked at soap nuts, cool, but i think i will stick with laundry or switch to powder detergent, to avoid the shipping associated with coming from asia. i also only use cold water, so i would have to boil nuts, which is doable, but would take some adjusting


powder vs liquid is interesting. i just checked biopac which i usually get from bulk, they have a powder version, just i've never seen it dispensed in bulk section of coops or natural food markets. their packaging policies overall are really awesome. powder with a measuring cup sounds best, i just need to convince my local stores to start carrying it in bulk


i looked at the footlockers, pretty close but 15 lbs heavier. but is a good keyword for finding other metal based containers and i found some lighter ones. i started thinking about bamboo combined with some minimal cloth based water resistance, would be super light weight


i have been trying to stay away from wool lately for humane reasons, the polyester thing still falls in plastic world, i will probably just make a small hemp pouch. i know it won't be as good, but it is inside of my pant pocket, so it already has some protection from water. sometimes you have to make some sacrifices in terms of sustainable vs ideal product.

December 20, 2011 - 1:31 am

I've been seeing ads on TV recently for metal wallets. They say they're completely waterproof. I'm sure there is some plastic in them, but maybe you could find one used or some sort of reasonable substitute… maybe use an Altoids box or something? It would probably have to be instead of a wallet not something your current wallet would fit into, but it could work. 


Another crazy idea… my birth control pills arrive each month with a little plastic pouch to keep them in… drives me crazy because it's not recyclable and I just hate throwing them out. They're just the right size for credit cards and cash though, so I've used some of them as plastic wallets. If you don't use the pill, maybe you have a friend who does?


If you can't find a good substitute for the plastic bin, you could always get one second hand. At least that way you're not creating any new plastic.

November 10, 2012 - 1:54 pm

“EcoCatLady said  
i get bulk laundry detergent, soap. but its difficult carrying aroudn multiple glass jars without breaking one. maybe steel jars with good sealing? also, on the laundry detergent, the lid and bottle work perfectly for dispensing at a laundromat with little mess. anyway to combine a light non plastic container with a measuring cup that won’t leak on the way back home?”


Hi, EcoCatLady.  I don’t buy laundry detergent and haven’t since about 2008.  At that time, I bought laundry magnets from http://www.detergenttruth.com/.  It sounds kind of weird, but basically they do the same thing that detergent does.  So, I have saved a ton of money by not buying laundry detergent, as well as not being exposed to who knows what in the detergent.  And don’t forget no plastic detergent scoops.  Good luck.  Laugh

November 15, 2012 - 8:36 am

Regarding detergent (if powder)+laundromat:

At home you could fill muslin bags (or make bags from an old t-shirt), maybe even a sock, with a load’s worth of detergent, then put however many you need inside a single metal canister, or some sort of larger bag. To use, just dump out the detergent, toss in the bag/sock/? and wash!

Worth a try to see whether will leak or is workable for you.


Regarding your wallet: first minimize what you carry. Smartphone apps are making credit, gift, membership cards largely unneccessary. Once you’ve done this you could possibly carry the phone and wallet on your body, so that however you’re keeping yourself dry will also keep your possessions dry. BTW, within the wallet, what exactly needs to be dry? Most “paper” money is just fine wet, state IDs come laminated <!>, ?….

October 24, 2014 - 9:17 am

I use mason jars and then put them in padded drawstring bags in my cloth grocery bag. You can also do furoshiki “bottle carry” wraps around the jars using quilted fabrics, or use tube socks for taller bottles. Also, I’ve seen compartmentalized bags, but I’m not sure if they’re plastic-free.

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