March 30, 2009

Year 2, Week 41 Results: 14.7 oz of plastic waste

As you can see, I never found a taker for those 16 American Idol DVDs. Did anyone actually think I would? Here’s the full tally for last week:

Plastic purchased before the plastic project began:

  • 16 2007 American Idol DVDs. What was I thinking when I burned the full season of American Idol onto DVDs? Did I really think I would ever watch it again? What a waste of polycarbonate. I can’t even remember who was on the show 2 years ago. But OMG I have 5 words for this season:

    Adam Lambert Ring of Fire.

    Can I get an “Amen”? Still, while love may be a burning thing that makes a fiery ring, the only place I’ll be burning Adam’s performances is into my own brain.

  • Melted plastic pot lid knob. I discussed this tragic event in detail a few days ago. Turns out the whole pot is pretty much hosed as well. There are black streaks actually burned into the stainless steel bottom, and I’m afraid to continue using it. *Sigh* Visiting my friends Jen and Red this weekend, I noticed their set of completely plastic-free pots and pans. They are Calphalon stainless steel cookware with glass/stainless lids. I think I’m in love.

And now, the new plastic waste:

  • BalanceIt homemade cat food supplement bottle, cap, & scoops. This bottle lasted about 2-1/2 months and is the only plastic involved in feeding Soots and Arya these days. Umm… except for the occasional yummy plastic snack. Video coming soon.
  • Foam insert from new bottle of BalanceIt supplement.
  • Piece of packing tape from delivery of GlassDharma straws. David at GlassDharma sent me a few more glass straws. The only plastic included was this tiny piece of tape which included the short note, “Sorry” + sad face. It’s okay. I know he’ll switch to non-plastic tape once he uses up his current stash. Right? :-)
  • Plastic envelope windows from Charles Schwab, Discover, & Financial West Group. The Schwab mailer was a notice that my account is closing. Should get only one more from them. The Discover envelopes were promotional. Need to call and request no more mail. Can’t do anything about FWG right now.
  • Plastic cover from Valley Yellow Pages. I have emailed them to request no more deliveries. Haven’t heard back yet. Need to follow up.
  • The infamous Bio-plastic mailer cover from Financial West Group. The majority of you thought I should include it in the tally, so here it is.

Half of the plastic cover is on its way to FPF reader Radical Garbage Man for inclusion in fun science experiments and espionage. The other half is here:

We’ll see as the weeks go by what my own experiment reveals about this “biodegradable plastic.”


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13 years ago

The idea to test the biodegradability is good but it’s probably not going to work.

The reason is that you need (1) moisture, and (2) heat. Most composting or biodegrading generates heat. The temperature will need to get to around 140 degrees (f).

Do you compost your vegetable waste? If you do then put your plastic film in with the veggies and a little dirt…need those microbes, and see what happens.

If you don’t compost your vegetable waste, try this….dig a hole about 12″X12″ and 12″ deep. This is going to be you composting site and that’s where you will put your composting materials.

Take half your potting soil, some yard dirt, water and your veggies….mix thoroughly. Put some of the mixture in the bottom of the hole, followed by the plastic, then dump the rest on top….cover with a little dirt. Keep your compost moist, try to mix your compost every week or so…and let’s see what happens. Compostable plastic must compost within 180 days to be able to claim compost ability.

By-the-way, plastics that claim to be compostable such as PLA (Corn starch plastic) won’t compost in you home composter. It needs to go to a commercial composting site where it is mixed with wet waste, turned and kept at composting temperature.

PLA won’t breakdown in a landfill…only a commercial composting site.

kale for sale
13 years ago

I emailed Valley Yellow Pages also to discontinue receiving the books(they left eight of them in our hallway at work!) and received a confirmation response within a few hours for what it’s worth. They did not however acknowledge the request to pick the damn things up. Do you need another one?

John Costigane
13 years ago

Hi Beth,

The biodegradable plastic composting is of particular interest, since this material is controversial.

If it can be home composted then using the material could be justified. Meanwhile, I will continue to avoid it like the plague.

Christy B.
13 years ago

Pots are a passion of mine – actually I am passionate about my pots!

I’ve had my Le Creuset pots for over 20 years and probably my smartest purchase of all!

They are heavy and they are expensive. They are durable, easy to clean, versatile, will last forever, made in France (the enameled cast iron). No worries about the quality of stainless steel, etc.

The set I purchased included 1 large and 1 small frying pan, 1 small and one medium sauce pan, 1 large and one medium french ovens and various lids. I still have each piece, nothing broken, nothing no working as it did when I first got them. I have added a small griddle and small grill in the last couple of years.

I also purchased 3 other sets around the same time (I was young and with a new credit card – I was dangerous!). The other 3 sets are long gone – fell apart, didn’t work well, etc..

I believe that I will continue to serve me and come nowhere near the landfill in my lifetime and will probably be willed to future generations!

13 years ago

I LOVE my stainless steel pots. Best buy ever.

I bought my in-laws a KitchenAid set of stainless steel pots for Christmas. They were $100 for a whole set, and Consumer Reports best buy with AWESOME ratings on Amazon. They love them. Cheapest pots I’ve seen that are worth a damn. They don’t have glass lids, and DO have silicone handles, though.

13 years ago

Cool…someone mentioned Marshalls – they have the pots out for purchase (most of them) without any packaging at all.
Aside from that – I just want to let you know that your blog has definitely caused me to seek more education on landfills, plastics, recycling and ‘reduce’.
For example – I just bought a safety razor in lieu of buying overpackaged and overpriced razor replacement cartridges. For years I had thought…isn’t there any way I can just change the friggin blade? Now I can! (o;
Just wanted to let you know you are making a difference way out here in New Hampshire.

Beth Terry
13 years ago

Hi Nancy. I don’t actually throw any of this plastic away. It all goes into the collection under my dining room table. If I weren’t collecting it, I probably would use it for crafts. In fact, I have an idea for a project coming up that uses the entire collection.

Jen — I definitely didn’t mean to link to non-stick pots. I’ll check again and fix the link.

Cheap Like Me
13 years ago

I too was going to suggest the DVDs to scare away birds in the garden – they really work! Freecycle maybe?

We have all-stainless pots with a heat-distributing bottom, glass lid with a metal knob. We bought ours 13.5 years ago with wedding money, and they are still AWESOME. We got ours at TJ Maxx and they were just sitting on the shelf sans packaging. Marshall’s has great stuff too. Stainless with a good thick base heats up fast, and you can scrub the heck out of the inside so it doesn’t much matter that they aren’t nonstick.

13 years ago

Don’t know if you crochet or just knit, but there’s a pattern ( to make coasters with a CD in the middle to provide some support to the yarn.

13 years ago

Thanks for the plug on the pots. Just be careful – the ones you linked to are akshully the ‘non-stick’ version. Pretty sure you don’t want that – I know I didn’t. After you get yours, I can tell you of the magical wonder that is ‘Barkeeper’s Friend’ aka my BFF. See you when I get home. You guys better have my dinner on the table! :)

Condo Blues
13 years ago

I have a set of Leyse commercial stainless steel pots and pans. They have glass lids w/ a metal handle. We’ve had them longer than the Condo, which is 4+ years. They are going strong and I expect them to last many more years. The only bad thing about stainless steel is that they aren’t nonstick. If you want a healthy nonstick option, try cast iron or enamaled cast iron.

13 years ago

OOOOOOH a science project!!! Why not make a christmas decoration out of those CD’s?You could use led lights to lower the carbon usage- or make some ornaments Anyway can’t you use your old pot for a wax melting pot for candles or something? I prefer to use a used crock pot for wax but hey use is use!

13 years ago

I have been looking for good cookware with no plastic, but one made in the US. I emailed them to see where theirs is manufactured.

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd
13 years ago

I think the bio-plastic needs to be at a hotter temperature (like in the middle of a large compost heap) to do anything. I would be quite sceptical about it’s ability to bio-degrade in that small little pot…

13 years ago

You don’t have to throw away the CDs. They can be hung in the garden to scare away birds, etc. They are also good for crafts projects such as painting designs, etc on them to use as Christmas ornaments/decor. I’m sure you can do an online search and find lots of ideas for them. If you don’t want to be bothered with them, surely you can find someone who would repurpose them.

Lisa Sharp
13 years ago

Can’t wait to see what happens with the bio-plastic. Wonder if Smart Mama could test some of the soil when it’s done?

13 years ago

OMG, Adam. I loved that performance also. It got so much negative feedback, but I could listen to it over and over. I’m also obsessed with his version of Tracks of my Tears last week.

13 years ago

I have those stainless steal pots. Worth every nickle…and you will have them for a lifetime. I loooove mine. And they look really snazzy too. Only drawback…I’m pretty sure they are packed inside a plastic bag and then packed in cardboard. If I remember correctly though, the bags are kind of like small garbage bags….so you could reuse them for trash bags?