May 4, 2009

Year 2, Week 46 Results: 1.8 oz of plastic waste PLUS Earth Day Winner!

I’m back from my meditation retreat, where I slept many, many hours. Felt like I was straddling the line between flu and health. Maybe it was just ordinary tiredness. In any case, the takeaway was a profound lesson: “Don’t push the river.” I know what the phrase means to me. What does it say to you?

Before I get on with the week’s plastic tally, the random winner of the 2009 Earth Day Less Plastic Pledge Giveaway is: Sharonus. Please contact me with your mailing address. You will receive two beautiful GlassDharma drinking straws as well as two ChicoBags kindly donated for this contest by Alline of Milkweed Mercantile who blogs at A Passion For Green Business. You won’t forget and leave your ChicoBags in the car if you carry them in your purse or backpack!

And now, here is this week’s tally. Plastic acquired before the plastic project began:

  • 1 PET plastic jar of Masala Chai instant spiced tea blend plus lid. Found in the back of the kitchen cupboard several months ago and finally used up this week. No longer will I buy this type of convenience food in a plastic jar. Whole Foods sells bulk loose leaf chai blend tea that I can scoop directly into my own glass jar. All I have to do is add local honey, which also comes in a glass jar.

And here’s the new plastic waste:

  • 9 plastic envelope windows. Wherein I reveal my utter disorganization when it comes to bills and statements. We have solar panels on our roof, which is great. Because of the solar panels, we started getting these statements from PG&E, separate from the usual energy bills which I receive online. Not understanding these statements at first glance, I’ve been collecting them in a pile waiting for the day when I’d feel moved to challenge my brain a little bit. (Yes, I am very organized as an accountant for other people, believe it or not.) This week, I finally called PG&E, got the explanation I needed, and asked for online statements. Alas, the solar program does not yet offer them. Another of life’s ironies.

    In addition to PG&E envelopes were one from Safeco insurance… still not offering online only statements… and payment from a blog advertiser which I’ve now switched to direct deposit.

That’s it for last week.

Have you all noticed the EcoDriving ad on my sidebar, and if so, were you wondering why it’s there? May is both EcoDriving Month as well as Bike Month. So each day this week, I plan to write about modes of transportation, not only saving fuel but also the plastic issues associated with each of them. Some might surprise you.

Related posts:
Find out what envelope windows are made from.
Why I don’t just toss my plastic jars into the recycling bin and forget about them.

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7 Comments on "Year 2, Week 46 Results: 1.8 oz of plastic waste PLUS Earth Day Winner!"

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Thanks, We live out in New Hampshire – I’ll ask our transfer station attendants what recycling center they ship to (or who would know).

At the retreat it’s “Don’t push the river.” In Chinese medicine, it’s “Don’t push the liver.”

Hi Beth.

“Don’t push the river” suggests that you should not waste effort, doing impossible things. Be realistic?

From my UK perspective: Things are changing for the better, partly due to our efforts. We should await further opportunities and acknowledge good moves by others.

On-line, instead of mail-shot, is my goal as well, with most of the regular bills switched and more to follow.

Hi Emily. I think it’s a good idea for everyone to find out where their curbside recycling goes. Many facilities will give you a tour. I’ve taken tours of two facilities here in Oakland and one in San Francisco. All three confirmed that our plastics and most paper gets shipped overseas to Asia.

Where do you live? You should be able to call your local curbside collection service and ask these questions.

Hello, I also read the post on why you don’t recycle plastic… I had NO IDEA that we shipped plastic to China like that. Uhg… I can’t even describe the weight I feel now from knowing that.
I have been reducing my plastic waste drastically though…
It seems that we would be better off putting it directly in the landfill rather than sending it to an uncontrolled facility.
Just curious, does anyone know how I would find out where my local plastic recycling goes?

“Don’t push the river.” This is fantastic. For me it means realizing that things need to happen in their own time and you can only work with the speed that they will go. My boyfriend fractured his finger last week and is so impatient with its healing. I spent the weekend telling him to just let it be and let it heal. Nothing he can do will make those tiny bones restitch faster. Same thing: Don’t push the river.

Beth, I just read the post listed at the end of this post about why you don’t recycle plastic. That was a powerful video. I have been working diligently to reduce the amount of all recyclable waste in recent months because I didn’t believe the product was actually being “recycled.” The video was a sad reminder that it probably is being recycled but not at a nice clean US facility as I must have imagined. Thank you for all your effort. I watched your Oprah letter video and I feel especially grateful to you now. You continue to inspire me… Read more »