July 22, 2007

Week 5 Results: 3.2 oz of plastic

My plastic waste is way down this week. As far as I know, all items are non-recyclable. It’s really eye-opening to see just how much plastic we use that cannot be recycled.

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

  • 1 Kleenex pocket pack tissue wrapper.I still have quite a few of these packs left; I just don’t use them very often.
  • 1 wrapper from a package of “D” batteries.
  • 8 Refresh Endura single-use eyedrop containers (#4 plastic).
  • 1 Santa Cruz organic applesauce cup. (#7 plastic) I have 4 more of these left to use up.
  • 2 prescription bottles (both #5 plastic).I asked the pharmacist this week if they could take the bottles back to reuse them and was told no. I think it may be against the law in California for pharmacies to reuse prescription bottles. I don’t know if these are recyclable or not, so I’m keeping them to reuse in some other way.
  • 1 Whole Kitchen frozen dinner tray and film.
  • 1 Soy Delicious mini frozen sandwich wrapper. Still have a few left in the box.

Now for the new plastic waste:

  • 2 Seeds of Change frozen dinner films. I’m making a commitment this week to be more conscious of my time and food preparations so that I can rely less on frozen foods. I have no more frozen entrees left, and I’m not planning on buying any more for a while.
  • 1 inner plastic bag from a box of Cashbah organic couscous. I had no idea there would be a plastic bag inside the box. From now on, I’ll stick to Trader Joe’s whole wheat couscous. I know for sure there is no plastic in that box (surprisingly, since TJ’s is so enamored with plastic in general.)
  • 1 plastic zip lock bag from a sample of Preserve toothbrushes that Recycline sent me. Ironic, no? I’ll resuse it. But still.
  • 4 feet of packing tape from said box of Preserve toothbrushes.

New plastic purchased this week which is destined for my plastic purgatory in the future:

  • 1 Haig’s spicy hummus container.
  • 1 block of Trader Joe’s English Coastal cheddar wrapped in plastic.
  • 1 glass jar of active dry yeast with a small plastic seal around the metal lid.


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terrible person

And here is a story about plastic recycling gone a little out of control…

terrible person

Oh, and here is an NPR story about plastic bottle recycling. Things are pretty bad right now, but they might get better.


Beth Terry

Hi anonymous! I agree with you about flashlight batteries, TOTALLY. Those were bought ages ago before I started becoming more environmentally aware. I am using rechargables as much as possible and taking the old ones to the hazardous waste battery container at the library when they wear out. In fact, I just took a bunch this weekend.

And Sunny, TJ’s is a packaging nightmare, which makes me really sad because they have some wicked good food.

terrible person

3. No. Even Stone-Age folks can do a lot of damage: starting forest fires to flush out game, overhunting, etc. It’s really a matter of population; once you have enough of any species, they’ll start pushing the boundaries of their ecological niche, until the ecosystem pushes back, and one side gets damaged, or the balance gets destroyed. That’s why it’s so important to control population! I think I’d rather live on the slopes of the big island of Hawaii, running an ecologically sustainable chocolate plantation. Or live in the Maryland suburbs of DC, while I worked at the National Security… Read more »


About the TJ’s comment. Does anybody know why they wrap their produce in plastic? It annoys me to no end!



1. How much plastic waste is the equivalent of 1 flashlight battery?

2. Which is more noxious in a landfill?

3. Is the perfect, environmentally-friendly lifestyle that of a society based on stone-age technology?

4. Who among you would enjoy living in the highlands of New Guinea?