June 30, 2008

Year 2, Week 2 Results: 1.8 oz of plastic waste.

It was an interesting week. Attended a funeral. Ate a whole lot of chocolate. Bought a bike. And began a Vision Quest. Went through a bit of plastic, too. So here’s the tally.

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

  • 1 Sicilia lemon juice bottle and cap. It took over a year for us to finish this, and we’ve got another one (expired) in the cupboard. We mostly use fresh limes and lemons now. I guess we should use up the bottled stuff before it gets moldy, if it hasn’t already.
  • 1 Sicilia lime juice bottle and cap. Same as above. And we’ve got another one of these in the cupboard too.

New plastic purchased since the plastic project began and used this week:

  • 1 prescription bottle and cap. As I’ve mentioned before, these bottles cannot be refilled in California. It’s against the law. Even our vet won’t reuse them.
  • 1 bit of plastic from a bunch of organic bananas. No, I haven’t found any other brand of organic bananas in my area without the plastic, as another commenter suggested the last time.
  • 1 fork from the after funeral luncheon. An amazing man died this month. He was one of the founders of the company I work for and the father of the current owner and her sister. He survived prostate cancer for over 15 years and rode his recumbent bike all the way down the West Coast of the United States. In his latter years, he became a vegan for health reasons but still liked to sneak the ocassional cigarette. He enjoyed hanging out in the accounting office with my co-worker and me, and we will miss his energy and humor. So yeah, I ended up with a plastic fork that day (and a plastic cup which I washed and replaced in the kitchen) but honestly I had other things on my mind.
  • Plastic return envelope from Cell Phones For Soldiers which came with a book I express ordered from Amazon.com. Okay, where to start with this one? I don’t normally order from Amazon.com, but I needed a book right away for a group I joined this month and couldn’t wait to find it used. The group is run by Jonathan Gustin, the founder of Green Sangha, and as a member, I’ll be partaking in a Vision Quest retreat later this month. Please don’t ask me what a vision quest is. I’m still finding out. Suffice it to say, (or suffice to day, as some believe the saying goes) I didn’t expect a plastic Cell Phones for Soldiers envelope and I just can’t even start to analyze my ambivalence about that.

So there’s the plastic waste I ended up with last week. But there was more plastic waste that I had a hand in generating. While my parents were in town a few weeks ago, they discovered a chocolate bar that they absolutely fell in love with. Divine Milk Chocolate. They loved the sweet, creamy taste. And while I much prefer dark chocolate, I loved that the bar is organic and fair trade. So for Father’s Day, I ordered 20 bars to be shipped to Maryland.

Did I think about what it would entail to ship 20 bars to Maryland during a heat wave? Kind of. I did request no extra plastic packaging materials in my order. Alas, the message was not relayed. The chocolate arrived at their house in pristine condition, “And look what came with your delightful gift,” my dad writes in his thank you email, “(the choc is in the small plastic bubble-wrapped box in front of the STYROFOAM cooler) plus a dry ice plastic bag, plus 4 plastic bags containing gel plus – YAY – a slew of paper packing –“

Look how cute my mom is.

“Are you going to count this on your web site for next month’s tally?” my dad asks.

Well, no. It goes in your tally, Dad. But I did report it, just to keep us all honest. Please reuse the ice chest for your next picnic.

I’ll have more plastic to report next week related to the bicycle I bought this Sunday, and a full report on the bike with photos tomorrow.

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The Green Cat
15 years ago

Beth, my letter and their response (as it were) are both over at my blog.

Also, a different response from “Amazon Green” came through on the discussion board at Amazon, which is here: http://tinyurl.com/4duxcy

Hey, if enough people join the discussion over at Amazon, maybe they’ll stop sending them?

15 years ago

I buy organic bananas at Trader Joe’s, of all places, sans any plastic. I never found anything funny growing on them. At a Stop & Shop I was told they come that way from Dole to keep them separated from the non-organic…to keep people from getting organicy goodness at a reg. price.

15 years ago

Your mom is so cute!

Our natural foods store has started selling the bananas without the plastic wrapping at the stems. I wonder though, if they just take it off before it hits shelves.

Carlie S
15 years ago

hey, i don’t know if you know about the banana thing, but i just read about it a few weeks ago (lol… maybe on your blog and i’m a total idiot for trying to trust my memory to repeat it here). non-organic bananas get a chemical spray on the ends to prevent, ummm, something bad. but since that’s not organic, the ends of organic bananas have to be covered. i don’t know if materials other than plastic work to protect the bananas from the “bad thing”. that info is probably not at all helpful! :-D DOH!

Beth Terry
15 years ago

Hi Green Cat. Would you be willing to share your letter with us? I’d love to know what you wrote.

Sandra, good job. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to buy things without plastic at Whole Foods here, too. But we do have quite a few stores with bulk bins where you fill up your own containers. Do you have stores like that in Houston?

Everyone, my dad thinks you are all very articulate and astute, and he’s jealous that I have such intelligent readers and commenters.


15 years ago

i just wanted to update you on my progress. i have managed to get our neighborhood excited about recycling and our rates have gone up substantially. step one accomplished. i am still fighting the plastic war and have educated my 5-year old on it now. my husband, not so much. it’s not that he doesn’t care, it’s that he doesn’t remember. i think the next time i fix a glass of water for him, i’m going to add some obvious platic chips in it. maybe that will get him thinking. i have to wonder if it could be easier to buy less plastic in Oakland than in Houston because i find it very difficult indeed. even at whole foods. it’s so frustrating!


15 years ago

Aw, but I bet your dad was SO HAPPY to get his delicious chocolate!

It’s much easier to give up resource consumption for yourself, but I have a hard time when it’s a gift for a loved one. Anyway. The chocolate may have been over-packed, but on the other hand, you are a good daughter!

15 years ago

I am waiting on a book from amazon and they better not send anything extra! Don’t you love food companies? I sent my aunt in Las Vaegas spme crab legs and got the same results- or as my aunt said I sent them a whole lot of plastic with some sea spider legs thrown in for weight. Just get an order from Omaha Beef! I use the ice chest as planters for flowers!

15 years ago

I get Chocolove 70% strong dark and it has come in a styrofoam box in the past (in summer). When the latest shipment came, I was happy to see wadded up newspaper and a couple of small chillpacks. But, alas, 10,000 plastic peanuts…so that makes me doubt they have seen the light.

The Green Cat
15 years ago

I just wrote to Amazon about those Cell Phones for Soldiers bags tonight. I’ll let you know if I get any response from them!

15 years ago

She, your mom, is almost as cute as Soots & Arya.

U must use that plastic lemon juice for your hair rinse and U can use it and the plastic lime juice to clean your copper-bottomed pots and pans and your brass hookah and Turkish coffee maker.

Green Bean
15 years ago

What a cutie your mom is! Don’t you hate it when you get unexpected plastic like that? Yes. I’m sure you do. This post is proof that it happens to the best of us. :)