February 10, 2008

Week 34 Results: 2.6 oz. of plastic waste

I’ve finished my last plastic-wrapped block of cheese for a while. I’m not saying I won’t ever buy cheese again. But I am going to cut back significantly, to spare the plastic and also my cholesterol count. It’s okay. As you’ve seen from my recipes (and will continue to see) we eat very well without it. So, let’s get started with the weekly tally.

Items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:

  • 1 plastic lid from a metal can of curry powder. As I use up my containers of spices, I replace the spices from the bulk jars at Whole Foods, Berkeley Bowl, or Rainbow Grocery.
  • 1 32-oz bottle of Albertson’s white vinegar and 1 plastic cap. The bottle is #1 PETE plastic and is recyclable in Oakland. The cap is not recyclable. Both bottle and cap will go into my plastic collection, however. I’ve since switched to Spectrum Organics distilled white vinegar (for general household cleaning) in a glass bottle.

Now for the new plastic waste:

  • 4 Refresh Endura single-use eye drop containers.
  • 1 plastic cork from a bottle of Rosenblum Cellars red wine. This bottle was brought over by friends for the lentil loaf dinner. I’ve since recycled the bottle and can’t remember what varietal it was. Doesn’t matter. I believe all Rosenblum’s wines come with plastic corks.
  • 1 wrapper from a block of Grafton Village 4-year old cheddar. Good-bye cheese. I’ll try not to miss you too much.
  • 6 inches of packing tape from a package delivered to me this week. This was an EarthPak hip pack I ordered many months ago. More on this item and apparently troubled company in a future post.

So, what’s the most difficult thing you guys have given up for environmental or socially responsible reasons? Did you give it up completely or do you indulge every once in a while? Is there something that you enjoy too much to ever give up, or to give up right now?

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terrible person

In terms of what I’ve given up, well, I didn’t use that much plastic in the first place, and I still continue to use some, and what I HAVE given up, I mean, it just makes sense to. Who wants to waste? Who wants to be poisoned? Especially when there are alternatives, often cheaper. Yes, sometimes I find something I’d like to buy, or need to buy, and it’s wrapped in plastic, and Beth wants me to find it in a plastic-free form, and I think, “Where am I going to find it? Please don’t make me keep looking, when… Read more »


Honestly, I miss mindless take out options. I live so frugally, that when I do go out to eat, such as at my local Vietnamese pho place, I agonize over bringing my own leftover container, which mortifies my teenager, stuffing myself to the breaking point, or taking styrofoam home. I am such a pain-in-the-@#$ naturally, that avoiding plastic makes me feel even more so! VEGAN CHEEZE SAUCE 1. Heat up cashew butter with oil or margarine on the stove, stirring constantly until it puffs up. 2. Add an equal amount of water and stir in and heat until it thickens.… Read more »


Your blog is really inspiring, makes me think hard. I’m puzzled by one thing, though, and that is about the cheese … here in Britain, we can buy good cheese without plastic, it’s generally locally-produced, often made with unpasteurised milk (so tastes better anyway), and is available at farmers’ markets, good butchers, cheese shops, independent food retailers, farm shops. Isn’t there anything like that where you are?

Thanks for sharing



Staying warm is the hardest one for me… not at night, but in the middle of the day. I’m still struggling forward, but it’s cold here!

I can’t see myself giving up my car right now… maybe in the future, but not in my current city with my current job. I’m a performing musician… you just can’t make enough money out here without being willing to drive an hour for work on occasion, and there is no public transportation between cities… YET…

N. & J.

I think one of the most difficult changes is the ability to just cruise through the aisles and buy whatever. Now everything requires much more forethought and research. And that’s not bad it’s good but it’s been difficult to adjust to that level of awareness. I also miss hot showers and long showers… There are lots of things I would have a hard time giving up entirely. My car, air travel to visit family, all fruits and vegetables from foreign countries, cheese but I don’t know that that means I will never give those things up I think that its… Read more »


Long, Hot Showers! I miss them dearly and, on super-chilly days when I’m sick with a cold, I will (guiltily) indulge in one!