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Food Grade Plastic
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Noemidlp
1
July 9, 2013 - 7:37 pm

Ok – 

So I was curious why the bulk honey we buy (65 lb – 5 gallons) comes in “food grade” buckets (number 5). So I looked it up on the FDA website. Food grade plastic is plastic that doesn’t significantly leach into the food, nor does food leach into it. It is required for big, commercial quantities of food, like our 65 lb bucketful of honey (yum! hooray for local honey).

Then it hit me – that means that most of the food we buy, which is not in “industrial sized” quantities must come in “non food grade” plastic, which means it probably does leach significantly into our food. That must be why some of my friends dislike drinking wine out of plastic cups – they say it tastes differently. Yup – must be the plastic. So most of us, when we buy food wrapped in some sort of plastic, are actually buying food wrapped in garbage. Nice. 

I’d enjoy hearing what you all have to say about this topic.

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Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
2
July 11, 2013 - 3:53 pm

I thought I used a lot of honey! I have to ask, what do you do with all that honey? How long does it take you to go through five pounds of honey? I love honey myself and am lucky to have a few local options that offer it in large glass containers. There are also a few grocery stores I go to that offer honey in large stainless steel containers with a pour spout. I’m wondering if these are stocked with plastic buckets of honey. I say, try and buy food that hasn’t had any contact with any type of plastic. Food grade plastic is far safer than non food grade plastic but it’s still plastic and thus will eventually breakdown and off gas.

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Noemidlp
3
July 12, 2013 - 6:27 am

LOL! We share with friends, and they bring their own containers, and we fill them. We do consume a lot of honey. Local honey is a great homeopathic remedy for allergies, and this season as been a doozy here in NJ. We go through this much honey in about 2 – 3 months. 

 

The beekeepers will take the buckets back and clean and reuse them. I agree – the best is definitely no plastic at all. But I have not seen any stainless steel containers for this. Nor have I seen at my local health food store, where my bulk dishwashing liquid, and olive oil, and other things come from. At least I am able to buy a lot in bulk, and avoid generating the plastic waste with each purchase. 

 

Our next step: giving up garbage can liners. I’m a little nervous believe it or not. 

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Plastic-Free Ericka Moderator
4
July 15, 2013 - 8:28 am

Ah okay now I understand how you go through so much honey, sharing with friends! 

So here in San Francisco it’s really easy to give up garbage liners since we have municipal compost bins that get picked up with our trash and recyclables. I was visiting a friend in San Diego in May where they don’t have city wide composting so she was also nervous about giving up plastic garbage liners so I had her switch to bio bags as kinda of a training run: http://www.biobagusa.com/

It’s so much easier to omit garbage liners when you separate your wet garbage from dry. If you want you can do what my house does which is keep a bowl underneath the sink where all food scraps go and anything wet such as coffee filters, etc. I use a medium size stainless steel bowl. Then at the end of the day or whenever you are taking the garbage out, get the bowl from under the sink and dump directly into the garbage bin that gets picked up by the city. I then just give the bowl a quick rinse and then place back underneath the sink. 

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Amy
5
July 16, 2013 - 11:05 am

On using garbage liners. . .  I used to re-use my plastic bags from stores in my garbage cans and couldn’t believe there were people who bought bags specifically for this purpos!  A few years ago when I started using my reusable bags for all purchases I (of course) ran out of my supply.  Gradually I stopped using bag liners in all but my kitchen garbage can.  We do compost so most of our yucky stuff doesn’t go in there, but we don’t put any animal products in our compost (except egg shells), so those go in the lined garbage can.  I found it odd and ironic that once I stopped accepting plastic bags from stores that I then began buying bio bags just for my kitchen garbage can!  But I am still so confused on the truth of such alternatives.  If those bags (or other such products) get tossed into the regular trash and get brought to the landfill: do they biodegrade?  do they create methane?  are they really an acceptable alternative?  I keep trying to reduce our overall waste production in many ways, but for now my family is still putting out some waste each week.  What’s a girl to do!?

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Beth Terry
402 Posts
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6
July 17, 2013 - 1:50 am

I think BioBags are a waste of money if they’re just going into the landfill because they will just create methane gas. Here’s the post I wrote a while back about garbage bags: /2010/02/collecting-garbage-without-plastic-trash-bags/ We don’t use any garbage bags anymore, and we line our kitchen compost pail with newspaper.

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Noemidlp
7
July 17, 2013 - 5:27 pm

Thank you all for your help with garbage can liners. I still have a few left. I will save them for when I have big parties. I always use real flatware, and real plates (got cute ones from a thrift shop) , so we never use more than one per party. I loved the video on Beth’s blog post. I’m doing the “cheap and lazy thing” with chip bags, bread bags, tortilla bags, etc. That video is hilarious by the way. Thank you for sharing that. 

My big discovery today: our local health food store sells roasted unsalted sunflower seeds. I no longer have to buy them in bags! Yay! (it’s ok – I think I have enough other bags to handle the garbage) And I’ve been buying dish soap, and castile soap in bulk, just reusing the handy bottles they come in – after all, those bottles last forever. Has anyone done a cost study on the amount of money we consumers spend on bottles? Or take shampoo for example: how much does the product cost vs. how much does the bottle cost? 

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Beth Terry
402 Posts
(Offline)
8
July 22, 2013 - 1:30 pm

I once tried to do a comparison but it was difficult because I found that the products sold in bulk were not necessarily the same brands as the products in packaging, so it was hard to compare. I would love to see this kind of comparison though.

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