April 30, 2008

Week 45 Results: 4.9 oz of plastic waste.

Those kitties are still getting me in trouble, plastic-wise. And the trouble will continue a bit longer. You know how I said I was going to make it my mission to figure out homemade food for them within the next two weeks? Well, it ain’t gonna happen this weekend because I’m leaving Thursday for my semi-annual meditation retreat (which I need oh so very much!) and won’t be back again until Sunday evening. But it’s gonna happen. I just feel guilty looking at all the cat food cans piling up in our recycling bin day after day, for a multitude of reasons. So, here’s last week’s tally:

Items purchased before the plastic project began:

  • 1 Kleenex pocket pack wrapper. I discovered this one in the bottom of my backpack. I don’t think there are any more hiding in my house.
  • 1 broken lid from a glass spice jar. Those kitties strike again! This time, the glass jar stayed intact, but the plastic lid broke. Go figure. I found another lid from those I’ve been collecting off the street that kinda sorta fits, so the jar is still usable.
  • Wrapper from 2 Pepto Bismol tablets. Should have been unnecessary. Shouldn’t have had that second (or was it third?) martini with my friend Mark Saturday night while we filled out applications for The Amazing Race. Oh yes we did! My life isn’t just about plastic, ya know!

Now for the new items:

  • 1 34-lb. bag of World’s Best Cat Litter. Okay, here’s the thing. SweatScoop comes in a paper bag and is made from wheat. Clearly, it’s the ecological cat litter of choice. The trouble is, it sucks. It doesn’t work. It sticks to the bottom of the cat box. It tracks all over the house. It doesn’t smell great. And the clumps do not stay together at all. In short, I hated it.

    World’s Best Cat Litter, on the other hand, comes in a plastic bag and is made from corn. Inferior ecologically-speaking. But it works soooo much better. It’s flushable, clumps well, and is certainly a better alternative than clay litter. Okay, I know, I know. I did an interview with Allie of Allie’s Answers on this here blog and told you about her recipe for homemade newsprint cat litter. I just have not had the time to make it and try it out myself. That’s also on the eco-friendly cat agenda. But it has to get in line behind the food alternative, which I think is more important. This is environmental triage, isn’t it?

  • 2 plastic wrappers from two 24-can cases of Instinct cat food. Speaking of the cat food…
  • 1 plastic seal from a re-usable ceramic jar of St. Benoit yogurt. We eat yogurt so infrequently that my last homemade batch went bad and I had to start over again. I wonder if it would work to save my starter in the freezer each time.
  • 1 piece of plastic from a bunch of organic bananas.

That’s it for last week.

I’m aiming for zero plastic this week. After all, I’ve collected none so far, and Thursday I leave for a retreat where there will be no plastic waste to collect. I just have to get through Wednesday and most of Thursday.

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18 Comments on "Week 45 Results: 4.9 oz of plastic waste."

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Beth, Thanks for your response regarding mechanical pencils. I never thought of it that way – that the refills come in plastic.

I’m wondering though, is the best ecological answer that there is NO ratio of plastic-spent-to-wood-saved that would make the plastic choice a good one. Or, is it that it’s this particular example where the plastic-spent-to-wood-saved ratio that is not worth it ecologically?

BTW My name is Shirley. Thanks for you time, Beth. What a neat website.

Jenn: Just because an item has a recycling symbol on it does not mean it’s actually recyclable. And here in Oakland, those bags definitely are not. I recommend you read my post about where our recycling goes to understand what can and can’t be recycled here: https://myplasticfreelife.com/2007/10/recycling-part-2-lessons-from-davis/ Yellowplum: We’ve tried Pet Promise. It gave them diarrhea, unfortunately. But other than that, it still comes in the same BPA-lined cans and plastic-lined bags. Anonymous: I don’t use mechanical pencils because the refills all come in plastic containers. I use a pencil for everyday writing and a refillable fountain pen for times… Read more »
Hi Beth, I am happy to find your website tonight. It’s a nice coincidence that I found after looking for alternative cat litter. I just bought cedar chips that are normally used for rabbit cages. I imagine it would be messy on its own so I will put a layer of Yesterdays News over it. But it’s so much cheaper than any of the cat litters. Unfortunately, it does come in a plastic bag. I also just found out that another possible alternative is the grass pellets made for rabbits. It’s also suppose to be much cheaper than cat litter.… Read more »

Ya ever notice that organic bananas have that platic around the stems??? regular bananas do not??? what is up with that???

If you get on The Amazing Race I will most definitely watch it! As far as the whole cat litter thing goes, I am fortunate enough to be just down the street from a sawmill. They encourage local people to take wood shavings (which I use for kitty litter) and block-ends (which I use in my wood stove) free of cost. As far as food goes, I can recommend “Pet Promise” brand. They are pretty conscientious in terms of how they source their ingredients, but getting their food in bulk amounts is not easy and their product is relatively expensive.

Cats don’t “need” canned food~It is actually just dry food combined with some wet making ingredients and put into a can~


PS. There are all varying opinions on what to feed your cat, I’m just erring on the side of saving the planet~

Oh my gosh – I hope you get on The Amazing Race! I love that show so much! Enjoy your retreat – I hope it is very peaceful for you and you come back feeling refreshed.

(In other news, I was excited to get in to work today b/c I had a package on my desk in a reusable envelope that we use for interoffice stuff and I thought it was a Brita filter. Unfortunately it was a Pur filter. Sigh.)

Oh! And thanks for the links!

I’ve use Yesterdays News as my backup if I haven’t made enough litter and don’t have time too. I don’t feel like it works as well as my recipe, but it’s not bad. And it comes in a paper bag.

I don’t get the banana plastic! It drives me nuts! It doesn’t matter what “brand” I buy — all organic bananas have it!

There used to be a big chain pet store that sold loose cat litter. The consumer would bring in a reusable container and just fill it up, you get it weighed and then, you are done. Might want to look into that. This was several years ago though and I’m not sure if they still do it.

being allergic to various pollens, and using from 2 to 10 kleenex a day, I switched in january the disposables kleenex for good old fabric handkerchieves.
What I can tell you:
– the amount of plastic I put in the garbage bin reduced to…zero
– my nose doesn’t feel itchy anymore when I have a sneezing crisis
– I spend less money for items I’ll throw away. I’ve decided to invest this money in nice organic-cotton tissues I’ve found on the lunapads website (thx 2 Beth)

in short a benefit for me and for the planet!

good luck for this week and meditate peacefully

First, I am not clear on what is this “Amazing Race.” I went to the website and they don’t specifically describe what the goals and rules are. WTF? The FAQ is so lame! More info, pls. Cat litter – I had horrible issues with sWheat Scoop (3 indoor cats) as did my boyfriend (1 indoor/outdoor cat). It was disgusting. World’s Best is better though has a bit of a fermented smell after three cats have peed on it for a week (I scoop 1-2x/daily). Now – the WBCL bag has a recycling symbol on it – I just threw it… Read more »

Oh, I would so like to see you on the Amazing Race. My other friend who wanted to be on it ultimately didn’t apply.

I have been looking at yogurt recipes online, and one person suggested putting yogurts starters in ice-cube trays and freezing so that you always have starter available to you. Sounds like a pretty good idea especially if you are sort of off and on with the yogurt.

I freeze my yogurt starter and it works just fine!

OH!! This is a totally off-the-subject comment! I absolutely love the Amazing Race! They so need to pick you!!!!! Such a wonderful show, with a wonderful message. It’s the only show my husband, 4 boys and I watch together! (the occasional doggie or two even will feign interest so they can lay on the blankets the boys spread out) You have such a unique personal story that it might just put you up there at the top of the video-heap! What would your tag line be? “The TreeHuggers” “The Environmentalists” or just the “Fake Plastic Fishies!” Good luck and have… Read more »

Good luck with no plastic this week!

Oh, I love Swheatscoop. There’s actually a note on the bag that says to spray the litter box with cooking spray before you fill it. I haven’t tried that, but I usually sift the litter from the used box to a clean one. In that case sticking to the bottom is a good thing. Does that make sense? That method works well, but requires 2 litter boxes. The perfumey smells of most cat litters bother me, so the non-smell of Swheatscoop works well for me.