September 28, 2008

Year 2, Week 15 Results: 1.3 oz of plastic waste. Plastic on TV.

Do any of you watch the Showtime TV show Weeds? Have you ever noticed that Mary Louise Parker has a permanent straw stuck in her mouth? And that the straw is almost always coming out of a plastic cup? I just finished the 3rd season on DVD, and I don’t know if it’s a result of my recent plastic awareness or if some coffee company is sponsoring the show, but it seems like this season is all about disposable plastic cups and the accompanying loud slurping and slushing sounds of straw and ice. I wonder how many plastic cups and straws they go through on that set each day.

Granted, Weeds is about a woman in the suburbs dealing marijuana, so you might think there are bigger issues to worry about than the disposable plastic. But the debate over the legality of mind-altering herbs is beyond the scope of this blog. And it would be pretty funny to send a letter to the show complaining about the example they are setting for our young people by promoting cold drinks in plastic cups with plastic straws, wouldn’t it?

Okay, enough of that silliness. Here’s the tally:

Plastic items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began:

  • 1 disposable ink pen. As most of you know, I have switched to a Lamy refillable fountain pen instead of disposables or even fountain pens with disposable cartridges. Still, there are pens in our house from before, and they occasionally get used when the fountain pen isn’t handy.
  • 1 expired Discover card. Hmm… I’ve seen compostable gift cards. I wonder if credit cards will ever be made to break down in a compost facility.

And the new plastic waste:

  • 2 plastic envelope windows. Notices from ING Direct and AT&T. I am trying as hard as I can to get off mailing lists, but I don’t think I can do anything about these.
  • 1 plastic wrapper over a Financial West Group investment report. Argh. A month ago I wrote to FWG and even sent them back a stack of their plastic. Haven’t heard anything back. Wondering if I should find time to follow up. Wondering if it would make any difference.
  • 1 outer wrapper from a case of Instinct canned cat food. The cats are almost a year old. Time to go back to investigating making their food from scratch.
  • 1 plastic sample container & spoon. Here is where I hang my head. But not too low because I’m only 60% sorry. Strolling through the Rockridge street festival this afternoon, I stopped to watch a cooking demonstration. The chef from Pasta Pomodoro was making my favorite dish in the whole world: risotto. I wanted to see if a professional did it any different from the way I do.

    Turns out, he does. He uses a hell of a lot of butter and cheese. (I think that if you cook the rice properly, it’s creamy enough without any butter or cheese at all… just a bit of olive oil. Oh, and wine, which adds to the yumminess if not the actual creaminess.) So I shouldn’t have been too tempted by the samples they gave out at the end of the demo. But come on… how often do you walk down the street and have someone hand you a mini bowl of risotto? I enjoyed every buttery spoonful.

We ate tomatoes from our garden tonight. And have been all week. Finally. I know I said last week I’d post an update. Tomorrow, I promise!

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Aerin Jacob

Hi Beth,

This is Susan, a community member at, a premier Green Bag community in USA. I liked your blog and your efforts on making our Earth more “Green”. I want to publish one of your post in our blogs. Can I do so?
I would also like you to visit our site and send us your feedback.

Beth Terry

Hi, Robin. I do use the individually wrapped rolls of Seventh Generation because there is zero plastic and it has the highest recycled content. The paper wrapping is also recycled.

I found a good deal on a while back for a case; however, it looks like they may be temporarily out. Here is my original toilet paper post:


Beth – what do you do for buying toilet paper? Except for the paper that is individually wrapped in paper, are there brands that don’t wrap their product in plastic?


I went to NY last month for a 10 days holidays and I was struck by the consumption of plastic, notably the straws!

whenever I ordered a drink there was ice AND a plastic straw. I am so not used to that. When you are at a cafe or a restaurant in Paris, France, the waiter brings you a glass in glass(?) and no ice and no straw.

to me this mode of consumption is typically american? Maybe it should be different but how can you change it?

kind regards to everyone fighting against plastic

we will WIN !!


OK, your Weeds analysis is right on target. LOL! You should totally send that letter – make sure that you note it’s inspired by the Gores – both Tipper *and* Al.


Mew!!! KITTY!! Dude, I totally forgot it was the Rockridge street fair – I really wanted to go but was in the kitchen all freakin' day. Bummer about the Pasta Pomodoro risotto – you're totally right: risotto, and so many other Italian dishes, needs zero butter/cheese/cream if you do it right. I mean – that's the point of risotto – it's cooked slowly, stired constantly and that releases the starches and puffs up the rice, making it creamy and rich. If you will indulge me in a marginally related rant about excessive dairy in foods… I had dinner at Venus… Read more »


Hi Beth- I too was desperately trying to get off the ATT mailing list… I went to their web-site and couldn't find any general contact information so I ended up finding the woman that signed the notice on "Linked In" and contacted her directly. And she actually wrote me back! Here's the e-mail correspondence: On 8/16/08 8:21 PM, Tanya wrote: ——————– Dear Ms. Storey, Please remove me from the AT&T mailing list. I tried to submit this request through the AT&T web-site, however, there is no option for general inquires. Tanya XXXXXXXXXXXSan Francisco, CA USA Thanks. Tanya _________________________ Tanya, I… Read more »