September 23, 2007

Week 14 Results: 5.3 oz of plastic.

The theme for this week is, “Surprise!” So many unexpected plastic incidents. Here’s the weekly tally:

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

  • 7 Refresh Endura single-use eye drop containers (#4 plastic).
  • 1 wrapper from a box of Refresh Endura eye drops.
  • 1 plastic/foil bag from an HP Ink Cartridge #10. I really wish I had been more environmentally-minded when I bought my behemoth of a printer. Surely there’s got to be a machine that uses less energy and less ink. I wasn’t even being frugal, as these ink cartridges are proprietary and therefore can’t be refilled by anyone but HP. I print very little these days, opting to save files on the computer rather than printing them out.

Recyclable items purchased before the plastic project began:

  • 1 HP Ink Cartidge #10. See above. This cartridge can be recycled by returning it to HP. It sucks that I can’t refill and use the cartridge again myself, but at least HP provides a postage-paid return envelope, so I can avoid throwing it away.
  • 2 part HP Ink Cartridge plastic protective “holder”. (#6 plastic) Number 6 plastic is polystyrene, which is one of the worst types of plastic. I can recycle these in Daly City, but I do wonder what will happen to them.

And that’s all the old stuff. I think this will be the first week in which, unfortunately, I have more new plastic waste than stuff I bought before this project began. And now you’ll see why:

  • Surprise! 1 foamy plastic coffee cup cozy from a cafe in Livermore. I seem to have these problems when I get up too early. I had to drive my friend to Livermore early in the morning to unpack a totally wrecked car, and after getting some emergency coffee in a paper cup, I didn’t notice this little plastic cozy until we’d already left the cafe.
  • Surprise! 1 plastic bag left on my doorstep containing the AT&T Yellow Pages. As I did when Comcast left a bag on my doorknob, I’m going to have to find out who to contact and send this back to them.
  • Double surprise!1 two-part plastic Just Desserts chocolate cake container, brought by my friends in gratitude for helping out after the car wreck. The clear #1 plastic top is recyclable in Daly City. But the black plastic bottom is not recyclable anywhere in the Bay Area. I’m thinking of saving the whole thing as a mini greenhouse for seedlings. And yes, the cake was really, really good. And I have to confess that a part of me was grateful to them for bringing it, as it’s my very favorite cake and I’ve had to completely avoid it since I started keeping track of my plastic waste.
  • 1 Safeway O Organics macaroni and cheese, powdered cheese packet. I did this for you guys, wanting to find out what was inside the box so I could report back. (And if you believe that…) Seriously, I didn’t know the powdered cheese packet would be lined with plastic. And yeah, it’s gross enough that I was eating powdered cheese from Safeway, but sometimes, you know, we have our weak moments.
  • 1 plastic stopper from a bottle of Rosenblum Cellars Paso Robles Zinfandel, Richard Sauret Vineyard (2005). Won’t buy this one again.
  • 1 race tag stub. I actually did a little 5K race last Sunday and ran better than I expected. Anyway, the race tags, like race numbers, are made from DuPont Tyvek, which is #2 plastic, which is recyclable by sending materials back to DuPont. Here’s a link for more information. The site only mentions returning Tyvek envelopes, but I called DuPont this week and found out I can send them anything made out of Tyvek. I’ll post more about this later, as there are quite a few items made from this material.

Other new plastic purchased this week? Well, yeah. The same night our friends brought the chocolate cake, we were watching Napoleon Dynamite for the umpteenth time. And what’s the only possible food to eat while watching that movie? Tater Tots! Okay, Michael actually purchased Whole Foods organic potato puffs, but still. A tot is a tot. How healthy can fried potatoes be? The plastic bag will enter the tally after we’ve eaten them all.

Hopefully, this coming week will be less embarassing and bring fewer surprises of the plastic kind.

Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
terrible person

You know what’s really evil? Plastic paper clips. What’s with them? Why do we need them? They don’t flex as well as metal ones, or bend to hold more sheets of paper. In fact, they break, or shoot off, if you put in more than two or three sheets. You can’t bend them into anything useful or fun, either. So why do we have them?