February 8, 2009

Year 2, Week 33 & 34 Results: 3.3 oz of plastic waste.

I missed a week while I was sick, so here is two weeks’ plastic waste. This past week, I gave in to a substantial amount of new plastic, as you’ll see. But I have good reasons!

First, plastic purchased before the plastic project began:

    • Dry mustard container, sprinkle lid, & cap.
    • I used this up making

homemade mustard

    two weeks ago. From now on, all dry mustard will be purchased from bulk bins using my own container.

New plastic waste this week:

    • Clamshell from Energizer family charger. I finally used up the last of my disposable AA and AAA alkaline batteries this week. I had purchased a big box of batteries from Costco long before realizing how wasteful and toxic they are and determined that once they were gone, I’d stick to rechargeables only. So, the time has come. I wanted a good machine that would charge all sizes of batteries, and this one handles AAA, AA, C, D & 9-volt NiMH batteries. And yes, the charger itself is made of new plastic. But at least I purchased it directly from the store (Best Buy) so there wouldn’t be any extra packaging waste or fuel costs.


    • 3 clamshells from packages of rechargeable AAA and AA NiMH batteries. I’m hoping I won’t need to buy this size again for a very, very long time.


    • Plastic seal from around the neck of a glass bottle of apple cider vinegar. Used to make mustard and also to rinse my hair!


    • 4 plastic envelope windows. Safeco Insurance, Financial West Group, Peace Action (I’ve asked this organization to stop sending me paper mail), and PG&E’s year-end statement.


    • Plastic from around the ends of organic bananas.


    • Packing tape from delivery of something I can’t even remember. I’m wracking my brain but can’t think what was delivered in the last two weeks. Sometimes I scare myself.


  • 2 doses of Frontline flea & tick killer for cats. *Sigh* This one makes me really, really sad. I didn’t want to go the toxic route, choose the nooculer option, if you know what I mean. But the fleas are so bad in our house right now, we had no choice. So we’ve not only purchased Frontline to treat the cats, but also a toxic powder to treat our carpets and upholstery. We tried natural oils and bathing the kitties in peppermint soap and vacuuming and washing blankets and linens in hot water. But the fleas in this area are tough and causing a lot of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Our cats don’t ever go outside, and still they are infested. What would you do?


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What would I do? I don't have to go the hypothetical route with this question. We have saved a few kittens from the street over the past year and one was in such rough shape that the fleas were endangering its life. It was too small to spray with the Frontline spray, but treating the bigger cat worked to decimate the fleas. We don't have many fabric surfaces here, so we don't have to resort to treating the house with anything toxic. Before we sprayed, I spent several days removing fleas from the kitten with a lice comb. It's impossible… Read more »

Chiot's Run

I was just looking through my Garden's Alive catalog and saw that they have a few natural flea remedies, including nematodes that you sprinkle in the carpets & stuff. Perhaps it would be a good healthy alternative for you in the future. I've always had great success with their products.


Sorry to hear about the flea situation. I’ve been through it twice and it’s so not fun. This last time, I did the same thing as Briana and used diatomaceous earth. I got it from the local garden store and sprinkled it on the floor/carpet/upholstered furniture, used a broom to make sure it got in all the nooks and crannies, let it sit for a while, and then vacuumed it up. I repeated it one more time about a week later just to be safe, vacuuming every day or so in between. Diatomaceous earth is very fine and powdery, so… Read more »

Exact Change

How cool that you are doing this too! I came a across the plastic zone in the Pacific last April in Alan Weisman’s book The World Without Us. I decided to attempt a plastic-free life after that and blogged about it for a month: https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?service=blogger&hl=en&passive=1209600&continue=https://www.blogger.com/blogin.g?blogspotURL%3Dhttp://exactthechange.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html%26zx%3D10thgzv99qqpy&ltmpl=private
You’re not the only person I’ve found on the web who is doing this. We are not alone!


I use Diatomaceous-Earth (food grade! NOT POOL) for keeping the buggies out. Its a powder that kills the bugs by making tiny slices in their exoskeletons. so they never form a “resistance” to them. I also I bathed my cat’s at least weekly when we first got them until I found no more fleas on them with the flea comb. Last cat I picked up from the pound about 3 years ago. they did put frontline on him, but I picked 10 off of him on the way home. He instantly got a bath at home anyways. Also, I don’t… Read more »

Healing Green

I feel for you. Last summer we had such a horrible infestation, and they seem to always be lurking around since then if we do let up on the toxics. We used to be all natural, but *sigh* when you see you two year old son devoured by fleas, and then with lyme disease from a tick likely brought in by a cat, well, somethings got to give. So, we try to strech out the time between the toxics, and but from now on if I see asingle flea, its a dab on the back of the neck for our… Read more »


Hope this helps the flea situation!One of my clients sent this to me…..like me, she doesn't use Frontline or the other flea & tick meds…….she's always used this. I have no clue about it but I will be trying it this year…. Take a BIG fat lemon (the more rind the better) and slice itpaper thin. Put in a bowl with a tablespoon of crushed rosemary leaves (or a6 inch sprig of fresh). Pour over with a quart of hot, near boiling water. Let steep overnight. Strain and put into a large spray bottle. Keep in fridge. Shake well before… Read more »

Condo Blues

My rescue dog came with a very very bad case of fleas. He's a Pekingese, so with all of that long fur I looked for long term flea treating options. Frontline was my best option. Some of the natural methods (like feeding him garlic or brewer's yeast) actually have deadly long term side effects. Other topical meds I found in the Pets/Discount stores had chems that were much worse than Frontline. Sine we get snow, we only have to treat the dog for fleas during the late spring & summer. Does it get cold where you live that once you… Read more »


you have my sympathy – fleas are the frigging worst. we formerly lived in the Temescal area, now living in Piedmont, and they effing followed us. our cat does not go outdoors, and we are absolutely mystified by our failure to completely eradicate them from our home. my only suggestion to you (if nothing else works) is to call Fleabusters. We have had a persistent flea problem over the last SEVERAL years, and also have a small child at home. we have had (what seems like, crosses fingers) hope using their service. no, I am not affiliated with them in… Read more »



Sounds like you have fleas laying eggs in the house – probably between the cracks of the wood floor under the carpets and whoknowswhere. Also, when it is dry, they just pop right up out of the dirt – I had a bad problem at a house in New Orleans with a dusty yard and fleas just hopping on passers by.

Get a professional! They can spray stuff which will render the fleas sterile and unable to reproduce.


We get fleas now and then, we think we have them cleared out one season and then the next year the buggers are back, we think it may be do to so many animals living in our building. But Frontline does work for that season. Our problem is that the fleas seem to love my boyfriend even more then the cats, so he gets bug repellent with DEET, we both hate it but it is the only thing that keeps his legs from ending up looking like minced meat. For some reason fleas don’t find me as tasty.

Chiot's Run

After your initial treatment and getting rid of the fleas you should try Ark Naturals Neem Protect Spray once every couple weeks (if you haven't already). That should help make your cats distasteful to fleas & ticks. This works like a charm for us we've never had problems. We had one cat that came home after an overnight stay at the vets with fleas, we sprayed him down and combed him several times a day for a few days to catch the fleas and that was the end of the fleas. This product is nice too because our cats don't… Read more »

Lisa Sharp

I don’t know if the natural stuff I use on my dog for fleas and ticks works on cats or not, I will have to look. I haven’t found a single tick or flea on my dog since I have had her and that is all I use.

I think I have the same charger as you do as well. If so we really like it!


I had switched to only rechargeable batteries when I realized that wasn’t the best ideas when trying to plan for emergencies. I now make sure I either have a backup way to recharge them or I have a set of disposable batteries. I’ve spent way too much time without electricity in California (rolling blackouts) and in Texas (hurricanes and other storms) to completely put my trust to rechargeable.

Anarres Natural Health

Once you’ve gotten rid of the fleas, the natural methods should keep them repelled. Lesser of many evils is our path! Re: Jam’s comment:I stated to use rechargeables in the 80s when many things told you NOT to use them. I used them (NiCa) in things to make music and relied on rechargeables in performances etc. Now I use them (NMH) for everything including smoke detectors, flashlights, mp3 players, cameras, back up batteries for clock radios, clocks and so forth. With the smoke detectors, I recharge the batteries once a year in March, just as you would change your 9v… Read more »


As I a part of my job at the vet clinic I sell Frontline all day long, and I don’t feel bad about it. The vet uses me as an example, “Jena here is our all-natural girl and even she will tell you those other products don’t work…”. I feel bad for people who spend a ton of money on “natural” products only to end up buying FL in the end. If your cats don’t go outside you shouldn’t ever have to treat again once the current fleas are gone. I’m sure your vet can advise you on how to… Read more »


I hope you don’t run into the same problem that I did with the batteries. I puchased a charger that came with AAA batteries. I bought a package of AA batteries. The AAA don’t work, they don’t charge, nothing. It kind of irks me actually.
As far as fleas, I can’t help since we don’t have mammals, but I do not think you should be disappointed. You have tried and tried and maybe one you rid the house and pets of fleas you will be able to go back to a non-plastic, non-chemical alternative


I’m curious about the batteries. We also wanted to go rechargeable only, but my brother and father (both nerdy techie types) said that they only work well for intensive use things, like cameras, video games, etc. They said you really need a regular battery in thermostats, clocks, smoke detectors, etc., because they naturally discharge themselves in about a month, and need to get charged back up again.


You have my sympathy! Fleas are a tough one. After our daughter and her cat got their own place, we had to do the same thing. Do you access to eucalyptus trees? If you put the leaves under your furniture, the fleas will flee the area. Tried it when we lived in CA and it works like a charm.

Mazzajo, not all dog lovers are anti-cat. We have both–mostly rescued animals.


Which is why dog lovers should be ignored.

Frontline absolutely! Your own health, your cats’ health is so important, you don’t want to mess around with it. I have always used frontline for my cats and I have never even seen a flea. DO NOT feel guilty.

Dog Lover

—Our cats don’t ever go outside, and still they are infested. What would you do?—

Chloroform works well.