January 12, 2012

September – December 2011 Plastic Waste Tally

6.7 oz Plastic Waste [6.7 oz new/0 oz acquired prior to June 2007]

Beth Terry's September to December 2011 Plastic Trash Collection by Beth Terry, on Flickr

Here’s the final tally for 2011.

Beth’s September to December 2011 plastic waste collection

New plastic waste (6.7 oz):

    • 21 plastic envelope windows from various sources, including financial institutions that don’t offer online banking yet. Learn about what plastic envelope windows are made from.
    • Two prescription bottles and caps. Preserve’s Gimme5 program will accept the #5 bottles for recycling. But sadly, the state of California will not allow pharmacies to refill them, which would be the ideal solution to me.
    • Plastic bottle, cap, and foam seal from 1 bottle of BalanceIT cat food supplement. Read about our homemade cat food here.
    • Three mystery plastic baggies. Once again, I ended up with 3 mystery wrappers. Good thing I’ll be tallying my plastic weekly in 2012.
    • Three Bandaids. It’s been a year for cutting myself — accidentally.
    • One unwanted big fat plastic straw. Plastic straws do happen to the best of us sometimes when we’re not on our toes.
    • 1 small clamshell package from a VoIP adapter that converts my thinksound headphones to PC headphones for Skype. I’m doing a lot more teleconferencing lately and instead of buying a whole headset, I found a tiny adapter that lets me use the headphones I already have.
    • Tyvek wrist band. From the Green Festival. In the previous year, I refused to wear the plastic wrist band so that I could hand it back at the end of the day for someone to reuse the next day. This year, the person registering me put it around my wrist before I could even blink! There must be a better alternative to plastic wrist bands for events.
    • One expired credit card.
    • Plastic wrapper from 3-D movie glasses. *Sigh* I have a pair of 3D glasses that I kept and usually bring with me so I don’t have to take new ones. Yes, the 3D glasses are returned and reused, but not the plastic packaging. This time I forgot. Read more about what happens to 3D glasses and bringing your own.
    • Bubble wrap from book I ordered. Amazon.com, why the plastic for paperback books all of a sudden?
    • Two plastic seals from glass bottles. Don’t remember what the products were.
    • 1 plastic mailer. A book sent by a publishing company to review. No more. If they come in plastic after I’ve requested no plastic, I’m sending them back. Seriously.
    • Two plastic tear strips from cardboard and paper mailers.
    • Packing tape from 3 different packages..
    • Plastic wrap around newsletter from nonprofit. I’ve asked to be removed from the paper mailing list.
    • Three plastic caps from glass bottles. Oil, vinegar, soy sauce.

We’ll be buying soy sauce in bulk from now on.

  • Two more plastic neck threads from glass bottles of olive oil. We usually buy olive oil from the bulk bin, but Whole Foods gave us a couple of bottles for free.
  • One cigarette butt of shame. Danielle, don’t kill me! A friend came to visit me while I was in the throes of writing my book, and that cigarette tasted soooooo good. Kids, do not smoke. It is bad for you and the planet.

That’s it for 2011! I’ll post a wrap up next…

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10 years ago

Amazon’s rating system for any purchase has a way to rate the packaging and comment on it — you can access through your account page. I try and harp on the plastic, and while this is only antedoctal and I don’t keep a record, I think it helps reduce the packaging in the next few shipments.

Betsy (Eco-novice)
10 years ago

This is so enlightening. If I ever do this tally, I know it will be truly overwhelming. At least I don’t smoke I guess…

10 years ago

Wait, cigarettes are plastic? I don’t smoke, so I’m ignorant.

Amazon makes me crazy sometimes. I ordered some nice wooden toys for Christmas that came packed in layers and layers of bubble wrap and plastic tape. What the heck? They really didn’t need any cushioning. Sometimes I get a package from them and they’ve done a nice job, paper tape and all, and other times I’m appalled at all the unnecessary packaging.

Melissa B
10 years ago

I just bought a friend a book off amazon but didn’t see a comment space for “no plastic”. I hope it wasn’t sent with any! Do you know where to request plastic shipping from amazon?