January 1, 2010

Reducing Plastic Waste: Dec 15 – 31 2009 Collection Results

7.4oz of Plastic Waste

Beth's plastic waste - Year 3 Month 6.5

2009 is over. Another year of collecting and tallying my own plastic waste. Turns out, my total 2009 plastic collection  adds up to roughly 4% of the national average. Really. But I’ll have much more on that in a special post on Monday. This post represents the last bit of plastic waste generated in 2009. It will be short because today finds me in this condition:

Beth hunched over pot of steaming eucalyptus water trying to clear her sinuses

Just trying to clear my sinuses with eucalyptus steam and get rid of the blinding headache I’ve been carrying around for the last four days.  Are you tired of hearing me kvetch yet?

Alright, here’s the plastic tally from 12/16 to 12/31/09:

Plastic purchased before June 15 2007 and used up in the last half month:

  • One bottle of Nyquil plus cap. One of the cough medications I wrote about this week, and for which I have found several homemade alternatives.  (See link at bottom of this post.)
  • Duct tape. Removed from under the sink during bathroom plumbing surgery.
  • Plastic wrapper from The Hours DVD. Purchased long before the project began and finally opened this year. All those other DVDs and CDs I wrote about last week? Sold, baby! Sold to Amoeba Music. I got rid of so many, I was also able to sell my CD tower via Craigslist. And the culling has just begun!

New plastic waste:

  • Scotch tape from a Christmas gift received. Mostly, I didn’t receive presents this year (as requested), or givers were conscientious about skipping the plastic for me, or I regifted the rest.
  • One plastic seal from around a carton of Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. Um… I know I said last time that I wouldn’t succumb to this stuff anymore.  I guess I lied.  I went a little nutty on Christmas.  I guess it was one little way to celebrate.
  • One plastic seal and plastic ring from a carton of Hà¤agen-Dazs Dulce de Leche. Another Christmas Day indulgence.
  • Bottle of Prometh Cough Syrup with codeine, plus cap and plastic cup. The other cough medicine I wrote about this week.  See below.
  • Bottle of Rolaids plus cap. Once again, see link below.
  • Two prescription bottles & caps. Prescription bottles are not refillable by pharmacies where we live. But #5 Rx bottles can be dropped off to Preserve through their Gimme 5 program.
  • Plastic window from Greenlite CFL light bulb package. Replaced a burned out incandescent light bulb.
  • One plastic Straus milk cap. Straus milk comes in returnable glass bottles, but the caps are still plastic. Read about Straus milk below.
  • One plastic-lined Yogi tea packet. From a friend’s house.  It looked like paper on the outside.  You can’t tell until you open these things.
  • Three plastic envelope windows. Two from Safeco Insurance and one from Sierra Club.  See post about envelope windows below. (Our local Sierra Club uses glassine, but this one came from the national org.)
  • One plastic bag World’s Best Cat Litter. While I’m not ready to completely give up this brand of cat litter, I am planning to cut down in 2010 by combining it with wheat litter, which comes in a paper bag.  Wheat litter is not as effective at odor control or clumping as World’s Best, but mixing them together seems to work okay.  See post about cat litter saga below.

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

6 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

man i think it would take me a year to figure out all the plastic i used this year. ..
maybe 2010 is the time to step it up?

The Raven

Congrats! And I am so sorry you’ve been sick. I’ve been there too this week…

I am inspired to photograph my trash/plastic too and am enjoying reading other folk’s entries. In my whole life I’ve met very few people more obsessed and anal than I am about stuff in general, but I think you might be one of them. Thanks for validating my craziness.

When we returned home yesterday from our long holiday travels, I received the lovely package of cream and lipbalms. Luscious!


Congrats on being below 4%!!! The GImme Five program hasn’t reached whole foods in Seattle yet, So I am taking on recycling large medicine bottles myself in my Etsy shop where they become dog poop bag holders. The smaller ones might beocme Sewing or first aid kits! LOL, who knew!


I was recently surfing for a recycling idea for the tins my favorite tea comes in. I came across an article you had written on “more” uses for baking soda… Having seen numerous ideas for using baking soda in the home, I expected to be less than enlightened. And admittedly, there were the usual suspects. However, when I saw the fabulous little shaker you use for the baking soda, little lightbulbs started flickering all around. I now have baking soda filled tea tins, holes punched in the lids, at the ready in my kitchen, bathroom, pantry. I’ve also decided to… Read more »


Hi Beth!

Happy New Year! :) I feel your pain… I’ve been sick too and it really sucks! I’m getting tired of feeling lousy and being cooped up all day! I hope we both feel better soon!

Congratulations on making it to year 3! WOW!

Lynn from OrganicMania.com

Beth, Happy New Year! I saw that Nyquil bottle and thought, “Uh, oh, Beth’s been sick!” Hope you are on the mend very soon. Wow…I see the beginnings of another campaign….the local Sierra Club reduces more plastic than the national? (Or at least in its mailings….) Interesting…. And I wonder the impact of all of the non-profits collectively, all of the letters collectively…Some would say we have “bigger fish” to fry, but I think it does all collectively make a huge difference. Thanks for all you do! And if you keep eating so much ice cream, you’ll be eligible to… Read more »