December 16, 2007

Week 26 Results: 1.0 oz of plastic.

The amount of plastic is back down again, weighing less than ever. This is the 26th week, the end of the first 6 months, and you’ll notice that the graph looks somewhat different.

From now on, I’ll still photograph and tally my waste each week, but the graph is going to show one bar for every 4 weeks so that I can fit a year’s worth in the same amount of space. Tomorrow, I’ll photograph and tally everything that I’ve collected since the project began. Here’s the list for this week:

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

  • 1 Trader Joe’s Nori Maki rice crackers bag. Found in the back of the cupboard, totally stale. Didn’t even realize I still had them.
  • 1 cap from a prescription bottle.
  • 1 Emergen-C packet. Another find, this time in my suitcase. Didn’t realize I had any left.
  • 1 wrapper from a bar of rose-scented soap. A gift from a friend. As far as I can tell, this is our very last bar of plastic-wrapped soap, and man does it smell strong since I took the wrapper off!
  • Plastic from a box of Kleenex. We may still have a few Kleenex boxes left. Will be searching for plastic-free after these are used up.

Recyclable plastic waste purchased before the plastics project began:

  • 1 prescription bottle (#2 plastic.) Will either recycle or check to see if a vet will take it. Regular pharmacies are not allowed to reuse precription bottles in California.

So that’s all the old stuff. Now for the new plastic waste.

So that’s the plastic for the week.

We had dinner with our friends John and Laura tonight and visited with the kittens that will be coming to live with us next weekend. Can’t wait! This week we’ll be making all kinds of preparations, kitten-proofing and getting the things we need, hopefully as plastic-free as possible.

Also, we are both seriously considering becoming vegetarians. (Are you happy, Marika?) Watched the movie, Fast Food Nation last night. While I had already read the book, as well as Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, actually seeing images of the slaughter house/meat packing plant and the way the workers, not to mention the animals, are treated left me sobbing in my chair for twenty minutes. Then, John and Laura’s delicious dinner of North African chickpea/tomato stew tonight helped us realize how easy and delicious it could be to make the switch.

I don’t eat much meat to begin with. I doubt I’d miss it. What are some of your favorite easy, plastic-free, vegetarian recipes?

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12 Comments on "Week 26 Results: 1.0 oz of plastic."

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The bay area is the best place to be vegetarian! You’ll find tons of local restaurants that offer veggie options, although as a rule, the national chains aren’t as vegetarian friendly. I second the Golden Lotus recommendation. I also recommend Bobby G’s Pizza in Berkeley and if you’re ever in Sausalito, try Fish. I know its not vegetarian, but all of their fish is sustainable, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Mmmm. Good Eats!

Hi Beth,I have been reading your blog for a couple of months and I think it’s very useful, insightful, and enjoyable. Thank you for writing it. I was a vegetarian for 12 years and though I ate what is considered to be a healthy, varied, vegetarian diet I became very ill. In my search for answers I found the work of the Weston A. Price Foundation and the nutrition researchers who started it. It’s no exaggeration to say they saved my health. These people care about a lot of the same things you do. They warn against plastic (and aluminum)… Read more »

Can’t quite come at vegitarianism myself but a possible solution to the Kleenex dilemma – handkerchiefs. They last for years and the older and softer they are the more I like them. Thrift stores usually have piles of them for sale, so you don’t have to buy new ones that usually come in plastic packaging.

hello again, Beth! i just wanted to tell you to visit the fat-free vegan kitchen ( susan has so many yummy recipes there, and in the left hand column she has links to over 100 other vegan & vegetarian food blogs (labeled: “search over 215 veg blogs”). i visit her site and those linked for recipes and recipe ideas. has some awesome recipes as well. oh, and also – pretty much anything from the cookbook: “vegan with a vengeance” or “veganomicon” is awesome. happy vegg’n! :)

Here is another piece from the Times, this one about the cardboard industry. An executive talks about recycling, and his hopes to use cardboard to replace other kinds of packaging. But isn’t a lot of cardboard coated, so, for example, it can carry color pictures of the toy inside the box? Here is an NPR story on green burial. As far as I know, not much plastic is used in conventional burial — no plastic caskets, for instance, though I’m surprised they’ve never been marketed as an alternative to wood, in simulated woodgrain like the panels on the side of… Read more »
In yesterday’s New York Times is this article on how fancy stores are making shopping bags that are better-looking and more durable, in the hope that customers will use them simply to carry their everyday goods, showing off that they can afford to shop at these stores, and giving the stores free advertising. Of course, the bags are plastic or plastic-coated paper. So, the question is, will the greater likelihood of reuse (do we have any idea what that is?) justify the larger amount of resources and energy required to make the bags? Does anyone actually take their fancy bag… Read more »

Perfect timing-I just finished our weekly meal plan! We’re not strict veggie (we eat fish, eggs and cheese) but we don’t eat meat. Here’s what we’re having this week:

*gardenburgers with salad and a side of corn with red peppers

*tofu stir fry over brown rice

*salmon (we eat fish) with wild rice and squash

*veggie pizza

*autumn veggie tarts

*tofu tacos with beans and rice

*tomato soup with shell pasta, bread and cheese

OMIGOD i am SO HAPPY!! YAYAY!!! Oh yeah, i just pulled out your book last night. i have not forgotten about it. i’m going to try and read it while home visiting. and i can definitely give you a million recipes and also the best fake meat products and tips. NOW you MUST go to Golden Lotus in Oakland. You will be amazed. The chicken dishes are so realistic im still sorta wondering if they REALLY are vegetarian. and also…you MUST get a tamale from Flaco’s at the berkeley farmers market. let me know what kind of recipes you want!!… Read more »
I was raised a vegetarian and have basically eaten that way my whole life. To go veg, think Mexican (maybe a local souce of tortillas or making your own to get around the plastic), Indian and Thai. Italian is good but pasta almost always has at least some plastic in the packaging. Here’s a simple recipe that is plastic free but for the tofu (you could trsubstitute chickpeas):Broccoli Tofu: cut firm tofu into 1 inch squares (first “press” tofu in between towels with a cutting board on top for 20-30 minutes to remove water).Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a… Read more »

I bet you can buy soy products in bulk in your own containers, when you’re buying other bulk things.

I’m from the midwest so I love the Farm cookbook. I make a lot of the recipes I grew up on that called for cheap ground meat and just substitute TVP fried with onions & garlic for the meat – it has about the same texture.

But I think my absolutely favorite veggie meal is dal with brown rice, or saag paneer w/rice or chapati.

Sweet Polenta Pie! It’s a vegan recipe but I put cheese on mine (plastic wrapper!)…
I can send you the details if you’d like, just email me, but here’s the gist:

Make a polenta crust.
Roast all kinds of veggies: zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, onion and mushrooms (or whatever you have). Puree some of it with a bit of tomato paste or just a few more fresh tomatoes. Add a bit of olive oil, maple syrup, basil leaves. Reheat, add the other roasted veggies, pour over the polenta crust. MMMMM!!