September 9, 2007

Week 12 Results: 5.5 oz of plastic

Yikes! This was a rough week, plasticly speaking. Between trips to Southern California and my doctor’s office, I unintentionally picked up a lot of plastic. Even (gasp!) a Styrofoam cup! How did that happen? Hold on, and I’ll tell you. Here’s the tally:

Non-recyclable items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:

  • 6 Refresh Endura single-use eye drop containers (#4 plastic).
  • 1 spray pump from a bottle of Fantastik household cleaner. We’ll be using homemade spray cleaner from now on.
  • Label, pump, and lid from a can of Gillette Satin Care shave gel. This was my last can. I’ll be experimenting with shave soaps in the next few weeks and let you know which one works best for me. Right now, I’m using Lush Emperor of Ice Cream soap, which is very rich and moisturizing.
  • 1 bag of Sunspire organic chocolate chips. These are all gone, and I’ll be buying bulk chocolate chips in the future.
  • 1 Garofalo spaghetti wrapper. I still have 1 more package to use up.
  • 2 more plastic wrappers from Wholphin DVDs. I received these a while ago but had never opened them.
  • 5 Band aids. I used these to protect my feet from blisters during the half marathon. I still have quite a few plastic Band aids left. Not sure what I’ll use when they are gone.
  • 1 Rene Furterer Naturia shampoo sample. I found this in the bathroom cabinet and used it for traveling. No idea where it came from. Maybe another hotel at some point?
  • 1 plastic box from an assortment of Dolfin Belgian Chocolates. I believe that this box and the chocolate chip bag are the last of the plastic-covered chocolates in the house. From now on my habit will be plastic-free.
  • 1 plastic wrapper from my Disneyland Half Marathon packet. This came with my race registration, which I made back in February. It could have been worse. I could have ended up with a plastic swag bag, too. But I was able to refuse that one.

Recyclable items purchased before the plastic project began:

  • Fantastik spray cleaner bottle (#1 plastic). It’s recyclable, but I plan to reuse it for homemade spray cleaner for as long as it holds up.

Now for the new plastic waste:

  • 1 wrapper from a wheel of Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese.
  • 1 Styrofoam coffee cup and 1 red plastic stirrer. Yep. That’s right. It was 5am, just an hour before the start of the race. I must have been out of my mind. I poured some coffee in the lobby of the hotel while waiting for Michael and my friend David to join me and didn’t realize what I was doing until it was too late. I am not a morning person!
  • 1 plastic “tie” used before the race to attach my race number to my checked bag. I reused a grocery bag to hold the flip flops my feet would be craving after the race. They used this little plastic tie thing to attach my number to it.
  • 1 plastic grocery bag. Another piece of plastic that ended up in my hands before I knew what was happening. David and I ran in to a corner store to get some things just as they were closing, and I didn’t have the heart to ask to switch to a paper bag after the guy handed me my purchase in plastic.
  • 2 plastic straws from a Mexican restaurant in Anaheim. All weekend long, I was conscientious about asking for drinks without lids or straws. In fact, I tried not to buy drinks in disposable cups at all. And here we were in a sit-down restaurant. I never thought about straws when I ordered a glass of water and a separate glass of ice. But both were served with an unwrapped straw sticking out.
  • 1 disposable sheet from my doctor’s office at Kaiser. Stop reading if this is too much information. That pretty blue background in the picture is actually a big plastic “sheet” I had to use to cover up during an appointment on Friday. It wasn’t until the thing was opened up and draped across my lap that I realized I was covered in plastic. I didn’t need it. The room wasn’t cold, and it wasn’t like the doctor wasn’t going to see everything anyway. It’s kind of a funny mind game they play… cover up for modesty and pretend that they’re not seeing anything while they’re actually seeing everything? Weird.

    So knowing I had to add the sheet to my plastic collection, I stuffed it into my backpack really quick as I was getting dressed. And then I had this paranoia that the doctor would notice the disposable sheet was missing when she came back into the room and ask me what happened to it, and I’d have to explain. I just wasn’t in the mood to educate my doctor about plastic after she’d just seen everything there was to see of me. Plus, she works for Kaiser. She probably doesn’t have any say in the matter. But of course she had more important things on her mind than keeping track of a plastic sheet, and my secret was safe.

Now I’m back at home in Oakland, where I don’t have to be quite as vigilant about plastic as I did in Southern California (unless I’m in my doctor’s office, apparently.) It’s not that Oakland is plastic-free. But when I’m at home, I know where to go to buy things without plastic. And I’m not eating out as much. And the guy at the corner store knows that I don’t want a plastic bag. And in general, people here “get it” when you opt out of plastic. And that’s nice.


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3 Comments on "Week 12 Results: 5.5 oz of plastic"

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you should try vaseline instead of bandages for chaffeing. Bodyglide is good too, but it comes in a plastic package like a deodarant.

You should save that plastic sheet and use it for a background for photos. It works nicely.

I’ve been saving the landfills from straws, but the ice gets in the way when I drink.

Another band-aid option:

Eco-guard bandages from All Terrain. They are latex-free and are made out of recycled plastic…


Re: Band-Aids. Knuckle Bandages are nearly always made of cloth since plastic doesn’t stretch as well and plastic doesn’t work well on knuckles. Here is the link to a website that shows how to use knuckle bandages for just about anything.

Knuckle Bandages

Curad used to make an entire line of cloth bandages as well but not sure if they still do. They don’t stick as well though.