August 12, 2007

Week 8 Results: 3.6 oz of plastic

Still working my way through the plastic in my cupboards, but there’s an end in sight. Just a few more weeks before we see the end of it. Here’s this week’s tally:

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

  • 8 Refresh Endura single-use eyedrop containers (#4 plastic).
  • 1 inside wrapper from a box of Fantastic World Foods organic couscous.I have no more packaged couscous. From now on, I’ll be buying it in bulk from Rainbow Grocery or Berkeley Bowl.
  • 2 plastic lid rings from 2 pints of Haagen Dasz ice cream: triple chocolate and vanilla. Okay. It’s all gone. Plastic-free ice cream from here on out.
  • 1 plastic bag of Eden Biodynamics rye spirals. The only packaged pasta I have left are a couple of bags of spaghetti. Getting there!
  • 1 shrink wrap from a lotion bottle.
  • 2 plastic wraps from around the necks of glass olive oil bottles.
  • 1 plastic wrap from around the lid of a glass yeast jar. Still working on that pita recipe.
  • 1 misc plastic wrap from around the lid of a jar I can no longer recall.
  • 1 Middle east Baking Co whole wheat pita bag. This is the last one. Home made pitas from now on.

Recyclable items purchased before the plastic project began:

  • 1 250ml lotion bottle & pump. We have quite a few plastic bottles of lotion. Probably enough to last until the end of our lives. The thing is, this one is #3 plastic, which means PVC, which means we’ve been spreading lotion on our bodies that has been in contact with carcinogenic phthalates. (We’ll make a couple of silky smooth corpses.) I can recycle this one at work in Daly City.

Now for the new plastic waste:

  • 1 plastic wrap from a block of Berkeley Bowl feta cheese. Bought this for a pasta salad to take to a party this weekend. It was the only new plastic in the recipe.
  • 1 wrapper from a block of cabot extra sharp cheddar. As I mentioned last week, eating cheese means buying a little plastic each time.
  • 1 ComposTumbler instructional CD-Rom. This was mailed to me unsolicited. A few weeks ago, while researching compost tumblers, I had to fill in my address in order to receive pricing information on a Back Porch ComposTumbler. Didn’t know they were going to mail me a whole packet of info, including this completely useless CD-Rom. I may mail it back to them with a note.

New plastic purchased this week:

  • 1 gallon bottle of Dr. Bronner’s baby mild liquid castile soap. These bottles are made from 100% post consumer recycled plastic! We are going to use this stuff for everything: washing dishes, washing clothes, mixing into household spray cleaner, etc. And then refill the bottle when it runs low. However, I don’t think I’m going to wash my hair or body with it. As I recall from back in my hippie chick days using the peppermint soap, it’s kind of drying. But maybe that’s just the peppermint. Could the unscented soap be milder?
  • 1 container of lye for soap-making. Wondering if it’s possible to buy plastic-free lye.

The only other plastic I acquired this week was reclaimed: 2 pairs of safety goggles for soap-making from a woman on Freecycle and 2 plastic pitchers, also for soap-making, from Goodwill. Reclaimed plastic is good plastic. (Is that a catchy song title?)

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2 Comments on "Week 8 Results: 3.6 oz of plastic"

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Its probably the Coconut in the Dr. Bronner’s Soap that you find drying, rather than the Peppermint (that is the ingredient that makes the “private parts” tingle – a comment I’ve heard from many over the years who’ve used their peppermint soap ;) Coconut oil itself is quite moisturizing, but the soap compound it becomes is a superb degreaser, sometimes too much so for human skin (and hair). But it makes LOTS of big fluffly bubbles, and its fairly inexpensive, so that’s why its found in soap so often. But because of the drying factor (and I suppose the fact… Read more »

Reading your experiences and reviewing my own practices is leading me to the conclusion that reducing plastic useage means making your own stuff.

Let us know how the soap-making goes. If you are making face/body soaps, you can buy glycerin at craft stores or in larger blocks over the internet, which you can add color/fragrance to or use as-is. It usually comes wrapped in plastic, but the bigger the block, the less plastic by proportion is used.