December 2, 2008

Another silly contest. Year 2, Week 24 Results: 2.2 oz of plastic waste.

Feeling much better this week, thanks to a lot of sleep, hot water, and Thanksgiving dinner! (Thanksgiving dinner is good for everything, right?) I’m late posting the tally this week because Michael and I went for a bike ride yesterday which left me so exhausted, I fell into bed and slept for 14 hours straight. But, Michael tells me, we have a rule in our house that no one ever has to apologize for sleeping too much. Wouldn’t you like to live here?

So, here we go. Plastic used up this week that was purchased before the plastic project began:

  • 3 credit & membership cards. Chase VISA, expired; Cala foods card, expired. One fan club membership card, kind of embarrassing. I’ll send a prize to whomever can figure out what fan club is represented by the card in the lower left corner. Certain people are not allowed to answer: Mark, Red, and possibly Michael (although he might not know the answer.) I used to be a crazed fan of this person and collected every magazine they ever appeared in… which were many. I wanted to be this person when I grew up. And you know, in a way, I have. In my own mind of course.

    So okay, I’ll send a prize to the winner… my choice. And since this is a silly contest, it will be a silly random surprise. Are you up for it?

  • 2 prescription bottles and 2 lids. Prescription strength generic ibuprofen… NOT MOTRIN… and another drug I took for anxiety. Have given up all anti-anxiety meds now. No more emotional crutches. Learning to cope through meditation and mindfulness and occasional bouts of therapeutic crying. Works for me so far.

New plastic waste:

  • 3 plastic envelope windows. AT&T promotion, which I’ve requested be stopped; Annual Social Security Statement; New Chase credit cards. I get all my statements online, but the cards themselves come in a plastic window envelope.
  • 2 plastic ties attaching my new metal bicycle cup holder to the backing card. This cup holder rocks. It fits my travel mug perfectly and keeps it upright. I know it might seem silly to some serious bicyclists, but my bike is about getting around town, running errands, and having fun… doing the things that people in cars would do. And you know how important a good cup holder is in a car! This is a Felt brand aluminum cup holder I got at Tip Top Bike Shop in North Oakland yesterday. It’s simple functionality makes me really, really happy.
  • 2 more plastic ties attached to the new tire pump I also bought yesterday. I couldn’t get the hang of squeezing my tires to check the pressure. I wanted a pump with a gauge to let me know when the tire was full. This was the original reason I went into the bike shop… that, and we had a coupon that expired yesterday.

I have a feeling I won’t be buying too many more new things in the coming weeks. The economy is scary right now. Saving money seems even more important than ever.

Are you guys affected by the recession and credit crunch? Fortunately, Michael and I have never carried credit card debt (actually, when we first got together 8 years ago, I was heavily in debt and working my way out. Since getting rid of my personal debt, we’ve been able to pay off our cards 100% each month and put money towards retirement, money that’s taken a nose-dive in the last few months, but I’m told by my financial advisor not to worry about it since it’s long term investment.)

I know we have it easier than most financially since we don’t have children or home or car payments. Our biggest expense is food. But this financial stability all rests on our keeping our jobs. Who knows how secure we are really?

Are you guys worried? Have you taken steps to ensure that you and your families are taken care of if you were to lose your job? Have you cut back on expenses? Have you found ways to be frugal AND green? Your comments are welcome!

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12 years ago

My favorite way to be green and frugal is to cook almost all our food at home and to take lunches everyday to work. Instead of shelling out $5/person everyday for lunch, we have “free,” healthy leftovers in reusable lunchboxes. And I love making bread! It’s liberating to be able to control the flavor, amount and, very importantly, contents of our food. Besides, I can save on heating by leaving the oven open (and off) when I’m done baking — the remaining heat adds some extra coziness to our home!

12 years ago

i think ICON is madonna’s fan club isn’t it?

I used to be a huge fan!!

Tanya Seaman
12 years ago

Yes, I have my own economic concerns due to leaving my company in the summer and now freelancing. (Brilliant timing.) Living sustainably (bulk goods and home preparation instead of processed & packaged) is the least expensive way, and this is certainly the opportunity to share that with others who may be struggling. Growing fruit and veggies in my flower boxes is the plan for Spring.

12 years ago

Madonna, natch. I’m not a fan, but the wife is and a simple google search turns her up as top hit.

Inre: economic woes: We are tightening our belts around here… dumping the organic would cheapen things, but I’ve got the health of a 4 year old to consider…

knutty knitter
12 years ago

I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t cut back on nothing and that’s what we have. I think I’ve struck every unlucky patch there is but its looking even worse for the kids.

On the other hand, the economic crisis hasn’t impacted on us because we are already at the bottom pretty much. The wider family and friends are there for us which is great and is also why I think community is so important.

We will survive :)

viv in nz

12 years ago

I think luck/accident has as much to do with what happens in life as do effort or conscious decision making and I’m not belittling those!

I was born in 1950, grew up in the boom years, missed Vietnam due to a high draft lottery number, went into broadcast TV just as videotape was taking over from film and local news was exploding so enjoyed the good income that followed for the next 23 years, was a union member before unions fell from grace, got a house when prices were depressed (though mortgage interest was 17%!!!) and now have been retired for 2 years with 2 IRA’s and the old fashioned defined benefit pension still to come.

So life is good but I am not about to give myself a big pat on the back for it – I was in the right place, the right country, at the right time. It’s my kids I am concerned about because the Big Party is over. So my work with environmentalism is my way of taking some responsibility for the incredible wastefulness and excess of my generation.

You, Beth, are a good one for us to rally around because you take the effort so seriously. You have the kind of conscience we all should develop.

12 years ago

Very much so.. we have changed a lot. We are living entirely off of one income and saving every penny of the other income (plus some.. we’ve been doing an awesome job of cutting back!). We’re scared… his job is pretty stable, as he’s a teacher in a stable area and district… but as a musician I’m dependant on other’s willingness to pay for music.

As far as the environment… we are buying much less (like nothing), making our own bread, granola, beans, cookies, etc… darning socks instead of tossing them and buying new ones… keeping heating costs as low as possible. We are driving less, and have rearranged things.

In contrast, though, we have essentially stopped buying organic foods. We are buying things much less prepared, and are making our own, and buying local and in season… but organic has fallen by the wayside as too expensive right now.

Beth Terry
12 years ago

Hi, Kim. It’s a Suede bike made by Giant. I wrote about it here:

12 years ago

ICON is Madonna’a official fan club site. So, I am also guessing Madonna.

12 years ago

If I lose my job… we risk losing everything. If my husband loses his job? His kids/ex will be primarily affected. I can afford our bills on my income but wouldn’t be able to come up with his child support.

So yeah… I worry like you wouldn’t believe. We have not been affected yet other than the fact that my husband’s overtime has disappeared and he has had a week or two of cheques below 40 hours.

Small Footprints
12 years ago

I think that people who live a green life will do alright in this economic crises. After all, things like not wasting, reducing the amount of stuff we use and own, recycling and reusing are a way of life for us. We’re already doing what others will soon be forced to do.

Small Footprints

12 years ago

I think it’s easier to be frugal and green than spendy and green! Cook at home and don’t buy things creates much less waste than eating out and shopping.

I think your coffee mug holder is cool.

12 years ago

Wouldn’t you know, I had Vogue stuck in my head for some reason this morning.

12 years ago

I know it’s a digression, but do you mind if I ask what kind of bike you have?

The Purloined Letter
12 years ago

I’ve been thinking about your question–no, not the Madonna one–for quite a while.

It has struck me over the last few months that the economic crisis has NOT hit us financially and is not likely to in any direct way (until shelves at the food co-op are bare), but it has hit us very hard emotionally. We live way below our means, one of us is employed as a physician for the federal government and is therefore well protected, we pulled our savings out of the market when the DOW was 100 points off its high, etc.

But the amount of fear this has generated in me is huge. The world is changing and it fits with all my Peak Oil doomer nightmare- fantasies.

I think this was some of the power of the Great Depression: that it hit people very hard even who weren’t directly suffering. (And yes, it really points out how ineffective it is to spend as much time as I do analyzing and replaying my own life.)

12 years ago

It’s Madonna, isn’t it?

12 years ago

I do believe the answer is Madonna! :)

12 years ago

You used to love Madonna, but now you don’t? (That’s my guess, Madonna…) :-)