March 30, 2008

Week 41 Results: 3.7 oz of plastic waste.

I am really tired. The Green Sangha Rethinking Plastics presentation, which I co-presented with friend and former chemistry teacher Solvig on Friday, took a lot of work and mental preparation during the last two weeks. I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow. I think the presentation was a great success, but even though I came home and collapsed afterwards, sleeping for 12 straight hours, I’m still tired.

By the way, I am way, way behind on reading other folks’ blogs and now my in-box has 638 messages, with 213 of them unread. And these are not spam. So I apologize to my blog friends for not participating lately. It’s just that I need a secretary!

It’s ironic that some of the new plastic I’m buying (like shrink-wrapped cases of canned cat food) is a result of being so busy learning and campaigning about plastics that I don’t have time to figure out plastic-free alternatives. A couple of weeks ago, reader Jennifer left a comment with a recipe to try for homemade cat food that could involve less waste than buying cans or bags if I can find a relatively easy and economical way to buy whole chickens plastic-free. She wrote: Good luck with the food… an easy way to make wet cat food yourself is to pressure cook a chicken (bones and all) with a few veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, apples) for an hour. The bones turn to mush and are really healthy for them. Just mix and serve… makes enough for a week for one cat. .

So, I need to find a little balance among the different aspects of my life… caring for myself, and Michael, and kittens, as well as the rest of the planet. And holding down a regular job. And doing this whole plastic activist blogging and campaigning thing. I have a lot to write about and many, many ideas all jostling together in my brain, and not enough time and energy to do it all. So I may have to cut down on the number of posts per week for a while. Until I get caught up.

Or I might not. We’ll see. We’ll just see. At any rate, here’s this past week’s tally. Items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:

  • 1 plastic membership card from the San Francisco Film Society. I have renewed my membership this year and received a brand new plastic membership card. Seems like a waste, doesn’t it? Maybe I’ll write and suggest they go back to a paper membership card, if I find the time.
  • 1 32-oz bottle Biokleen laundry soap (#2 plastic) and cap. We are using Ecover powdered laundry soap right now that comes in a recycled cardboard box with a cardboard scooper. I know I could make my own laundry soap like Just Ducky does. But please see above comments about time and tiredness and energy.

New plastic waste:

  • Shrink-wrap from a 24-can case of Instinct cat food. See above. And as I mentioned last time, buying the cans individually does not save plastic. The cans are shipped to the store in plastic and removed from the packaging before you buy them.

    And one more thing about cat food: I have received numerous comments with opinions about whether cats should eat wet food or dry kibble. I tend to believe those that say cats do better with wet food because it’s closer to what they would eat in the wild. Cats eat small rodents and birds. Meat, bones, water, all in one package. They don’t eat grains. How could they? Grains have to be cooked. They may eat a small amount of vegetable matter. And, according to what I’ve read, they don’t really drink water, getting their liquid from the bodies of their prey.

    Crunchy food is good for their teeth. So I have been mixing in a tiny bit of dry food with the wet this week to give them a bit of crunch. And if I can get it together to pressure cook the whole chicken, bones and all, with a few veggies, that should be perfect. I’m not going to put them on a diet of all dry food because that is how cats end up with kidney failure. And I just can’t do that to them.

  • 1 plastic salad dressing container. *Sigh* Went out to lunch after the Rethinking Plastics presentation and we made sure to choose a restaurant that uses durable plates and bowls and cutlery. I had no idea they’d put my salad dressing in a disposable plastic container.

That’s it for last week. Until Friday, I actually thought I was going to finally have a week with no plastic in the tally at all. No such luck. But that will be a good week indeed. Tomorrow, I’ll write about the plastics presentation and tell you about how it went. For right now, I’m going to take another long nap I think.

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17 Comments on "Week 41 Results: 3.7 oz of plastic waste."

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Meat Only Pet Diet #1: feeding a strictly meat diet is high in protein

Fact: Raw meat is actually low in protein!

Check out:

Notice the grams of protein (258) in a whole, raw, roasting chicken, neck and giblets that weighs 1509 grams. This example: 17% protein.

Notice the water content? 65% water (you’re right Beth, when pets eat this way they get their water from their food).

In case you want to check out other cuts:

I’m working on a post of how my husband and I make food for our 5 cats and 1 dog. If you get into the raw movement you will make yourself nuts with the contradictory information. Our way is certainly not “the way” but it has worked for us so far and with the blessing of my vet on our recipe. We store all their food in glass jars and we get our meat straight from the butcher when we can. It’s not plastic free because we do have supplements that we add such as taurine. We do not cook… Read more »

Let me second everyone else’s comments about not having to be perfect, and add something else: Some of the most interesting posts are the ones where you end up with plastic despite all your efforts. If you ever did manage to live completely plastic-free, I would miss all these little mini-dramas about the cats and Taco Bell and gifts from well-meaning friends.

I notice more and more food products come in plastic now instead of glass. I wonder if some of them could be sold in compostable plastic made from corn? I don’t think it would take any more energy to make. I’d rather see corn used in this way instead of being make into high fructose corn sweetner and other junkie corn products. And besides humans,cows aren’t supposed to eat corn anyway…

Hi Jennconspiracy. I agree with you about the litter. It’s a problem. Swheatscoop is probably the best one environmentally. Too bad it sucks! We also switched to World’s Best Cat Litter, even though it comes in a plastic bag and even though it’s made with corn and brings with it all the environmental problems of the corn industry because gosh darnit, the stuff really works. We use a plastic litter box that we got from Freecycle. At least, we didn’t buy any new plastic for the box. So, I have no good answer for you. I’m in the same boat… Read more »
Hi Jessica. The list of contributory causes you sent me is funny because right before it mentions high protein diet, it lists dried food. Here are some of the things I’ve read about dry cat food: I appreciate that your cat has thrived on dry food and I’m not telling anyone else what to do. But I think if I can get it together to make them the chicken recipe, that will be the best solution for my cats. Oh, and I forgot to say in my post that every single time I try to get… Read more »
Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd
I don’t want to argue with you about cat food, but… > Cats eat small rodents and > birds. Meat, bones, water, all > in one package. They don’t eat> grains. > I’m not going to put them on a > diet of all dry food because > that is how cats end up with > kidney failure. There’s a very good fact sheet about kidney failure in cats here, and one of the things it lists as a contributory cause is a high protein diet — which seems to me what a cat would be on if all it… Read more »
I HAVE SOAP FOR YOU. it’s sitting on my work desk smiling at me as i type this. i got you the grapefruit/pomegranate scent because the aloe scent smelled like wax and i wouldnt want you walking around smelling like wax. it is 99% natural and not tested on animals (yay) and you can plant the package in your yard to grow baby’s breath AND they are pleased to make an annual donation of at least $100,000 to the World Wildlife Fund. awesome. so this awesome soap and your book will be waiting for you! come visit!
Don’t let life’s ironies get you too stressed. It’s the overall forward motion that’s important. Thanks for linking to Just Ducky’s laundry soap recipe. All the other recipes I’ve seen so far have involved adding water to make a gel. I figured I’d have to go thrifting to find a pot and spoon to use only in soap making, and be sure to keep the dog out of the kitchen while I worked. Not having to do all that makes the prep SO much simpler and makes me all the more excited for the day when my giant tub of… Read more »

So sorry you’re so exhausted Beth. Feel better. We totally understand if you have to take blogging breathers every now and then.

*mew* – hi to the kitties. Question about cat litter — what do you use? Most cat litter seems to come in plastic. Some clay cat litters are in paper but using clay is problematic because of strip-mining and mountain-top removal. I switched to “World’s Best Cat Litter” – it’s made of corn – and it seems to be doing ok. Boyfriend is using a pine litter (fwiw, neither of us liked sWheat Scoop). Of course, the litterbox is plastic. I worry a bit about the litterbox absorbing waste overtime and becoming a place for bad things to live and… Read more »

Hi–I ran into your blog in a comment on another blog. Good find. My husband and I have been arguing because we recycle all plastics but 6 and he thinks therefore we don’t need to worry as much about packaging. Wrong! (I’m going to send him this link.)

I just noticed the Biokleen laundry liquid container in your picture. I think Bio Pac has a wonderful laundry liquid “ultra” where you can return the container directly to the company. they will reuse it! I wonder if biokleen would do the same thing?
Molly in NH

Lynn from

Good for you for being honest, Beth. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It can be exhausting. Some times my eyes burn and my back aches from all the time at the computer.

And sometimes the seemingly easy things are hard to do. Like Earth Hour – I’m embarassed to say mine turned into Earth Minute. But at least I got another post out of it! :)

I’m holding out for the pleather jumpsuit.

No, seriously… sometimes you have to take things one step at a time! Around here, I have PILES of projects that need finishing. I’m trying to repeat that above mantra… one step at a time.

It’s okay to be human Beth. Don’t burn yourself out. You will be driven to a plastic bender. We will find you rocking back and forth in a pleather jumpsuit and jelly shoes on your plastic covered couch washing down meals-for-one still in their black plastic containers with waffle-in-the-can shooters. So many of the greats have gone down like that.

Hi Beth,
Cat food comment – is there a butcher in your area who you could purchase whole chickens from? I am thinking that if you explain your situation, and show up with a large container, he/she could sell you a whole chicken plastic-free. Also, find yourself a pet nutritionist! It would be good to make sure your kitties are getting the appropriate necessary vitamins and minerals, so you should consult with someone to see what supplements to add.
Molly in NH