December 22, 2009

Year 3, Month 6 Results: 6.9 oz of Plastic Waste

Year 3 Month 6 Results

I’m so happy to be writing this post!  Even with all the plastic in the photo above (ugh!) I am thrilled to be typing these words and seeing them appear on the screen. See, I got hacked this weekend, and Fake Plastic Fish went down.  Let this be a lesson to any WordPress bloggers out there.  I got hacked because I procrastinated on updating to the newest WordPress version.  But at first, I didn’t know I was hacked.  I just knew that all of a sudden my Dashboard (the WordPress interface where you enter posts and change your blog’s appearance) looked like crap and wasn’t working properly.  My plugins were all deactivated.  And, like I said, my site went down.  Bummer.  I was pretty anxious all day Sunday until I found this guy through Twitter (Thank you Twitter!) who was able to diagnose the problem and have me up and running within a few hours.  It would have taken me days to figure out what to do!

So anyway, here’s the monthly plastic tally through 12/15/09.  What a plastic-filled month it was.  But surprisingly, not a single window envelope this time.  How about that?

Plastic purchased before June 2007 and used or damaged this month:

  • One acrylic knitting needle, broken in half. It got stepped on.  And why, you ask, was it lying in the middle of the floor to be stepped on?  Because someone, and I’m not naming names, broke into my knitting stash while I was at Disneyland and dragged yarn, as well as needles attached to said yarn, through the house, insisting it was an abstract art piece.Bad Kitty with Yarn
  • Four Pepto-Bismol tablet wrappers. Still occasionally using these tablets that are over three years old.
  • Trimming from two foam insoles that I cut to fit a different pair of shoes.
  • Plastic “Do Not Disturb” door hanger. Brought home from a hotel a long time ago.  We thought it would be funny to hang on our own bedroom door since at the time, Michael and I were the only ones living in our house.   After the kitties came, we thought we could use it to let them know when we didn’t want to be disturbed, but they preferred chewing on it to reading it.  At this point, it’s cracked and useless and goes in the tally.  I don’t want them chewing on plastic anyway.  More on that in a future post.

New plastic waste:

  • Plastic Packing tape from four packages & two label pouches. Deliveries from BalanceIT (the company that makes our cats’ supplement [keep reading for more info]), (our regular Seventh Generation toilet paper delivery [see link below this post]), Organic Essence (Body cream sample) and Colette for my T-shirt quilt.  Here’s the thing:  I suspect Colette initially used as little tape as possible and then was forced to add a whole lot more USPS tape at the post office.  It’s happened to me.  I understand that in this country, the US Postal Service is generally the greenest delivery option. Since the mail carriers are already coming to our homes everyday, they don’t have to make an extra trip to deliver packages. And USPS packaging has achieved Cradle to Cradle certification. So why do they have to use so much plastic tape?
  • One plastic seal from around a carton of Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. This is the last pint.  I swear I’m not doing it anymore.
  • Seven plastic clothing tag hangers. From clothing bought during my after Thanksgiving eco-friendly spending spree.
  • Plastic seal from a tube of 100% Pure lip color. I wrote about 100% Pure the week before last.
  • One prescription bottle & cap. 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.
  • Two plastic blister packs from another prescription. I won’t be getting this particular medication in blister packs in the future, so there won’t be as much packaging.
  • Two plastic Straus milk caps. Straus milk comes in returnable glass bottles, but the caps are still plastic. Read about Straus milk below.
  • Molded plastic insert from a new rear bike light. Apparently, whenever I ride my bike at night, I have been breaking the law.  I didn’t have a rear red light.  Now I do.  What’s more, the Blackburn Flea light that I bought is charged via USB.  So I can not only plug it in to my computer, I can also charge it using my Solio solar charger.
  • Two expired music gift cards. I picked them up at Blogher back in 2008 and never used them.  What a waste.
  • One Equal Exchange chocolate bar inner wrapper. Curses!  (Plastic) foiled again!  I thought I was doing a good thing buying Fair Trade chocolate.  Why does the company need to hide a plastic wrapper inside the paper wrapper?  Other companies use actual foil or even just plain paper.  Perhaps an email is in order.
  • Plastic wrapper and molded plastic tray from HP yellow print head. Dealing with all my HP issues last month, I discovered I actually needed to replace the print head, which is sold separately from the ink cartridges for my printer, and Cartridge World doesn’t sell print heads.
  • Mylar pouch from refilled yellow Cartridge World ink cartridge. See link below for info on HP recycling, Cartridge World refilling, and Silo Ink systems.
  • Two vials and two outer packages of Frontline flea treatment for cats. Nothing else works for us.
  • One bottle of BalanceIT homemade cat food supplement powder, cap, two plastic scoops, & foam seal. See link below for info about our homemade cat food.
  • Plastic blister pack from gum stimulator from my dentist. I resisted opening it for quite some time, thinking I’d return it because of the plastic packaging.  But after my last appointment, I was convinced to use it.  And that’s all I’m gonna say.
  • Plastic seal from neck of a glass bottle of Napa Valley Naturals cooking wine. Because I like to cook with wine, but if I buy table wine for cooking, I might drink it.  I haven’t had a drink in nine weeks and I don’t want to start now.
  • Plastic seal from neck of a glass bottle of San-J organic wheat-free soy sauce. Because regular soy sauce (of which we have a whole gallon in a metal container) contains gluten.
  • Plastic cup from unexpected cole slaw in Disneyland. I asked for my meal in a simple paper wrapper.  I didn’t know it would come with cole slaw in plastic.  When I tried to give it back, the server told me he couldn’t take it back and that I should just throw it away if I didn’t want it.  Even when I explained about the plastic situation.

Plastic waste not included in the tally:

Here are the items I refused to accept, but for which I take responsibility nevertheless:

  • Plastic spoon from ice cream at Disneyland. The spoon was in the ice cream before I had a chance to get out my reusable spoon.  Gotta be fast!  I returned the spoon to the server with my usual explanation, but I don’t know what she did with it.
  • Plastic packaging inside HP print head shipping box. Staples did not have the print head in stock, so they had to order it for me from HP.  When I went to the store to pick it up, I was handed a great big box stuffed with plastic air pillows.  Why such a big box for a tiny print head?  And why all the extra plastic, HP?

I’ll have another plastic tally at the end of the year, so I can total up my plastic waste for 2009. Then next year, I’ll tally it up by calendar months. Not that you guys care, right? Is anyone else as obsessed with spreadsheets and tallies and numbers as I am?

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

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

about the plastic clothing tag hangers, I will actually remove the entire thing in tact (I can’t tell from the picture whether you’ve cut them or not, but I assume so). it’s a little difficult and may make a larger hole in the fabric, depending on the thread count, but it makes it so it could theoretically be used again. you just bend the smaller end so it’s next to the piece that goes through the fabric and push it through the same hole the other piece goes through (I don’t know if I explained that well but it’s not… Read more »


The unused (expired) gift cards can be used as “scrapers”. I have two in the kitchen that are all beat up looking because I use them all the time on pots and such. They don’t scratch!! Can also use to scrape icy windshields .


I have written equal exchange about their plastic wrapper – I’ll try and find their response and email it to you, but I recall that it was lame…
I’m now a green and black fan – though I really need to cut the sugar – again!

knutty knitter

If you file the broken end of the knitting needle it suddenly becomes a double end cable needle. Collect 4 in about the same size and you have a set of circular needles :) Then you get to make lots of socks!!

Like me….

For Christmas….

I’m finishing number 6 now and its already midnight of Christmas eve here….


viv in nz Have a great Christmas by the way.


It BLOWS my mind that you do this – I love reading these posts!!

Beth Terry

Hi, Denisse. Regarding gluten, it’s not a problem for people who can tolerate it. I’m not telling anyone they shouldn’t eat gluten. It’s just me and my crazy digestive system. The only reason I mentioned it was to explain why I had to buy a new bottle of soy sauce with a plastic-wrapped neck.


I share your hidden plastic fury.
Equal Exchange chocolate – AAAAAHHHHHHHH.*TEARING HAIR OUT*


why are we not eating gluten …. plastic yes bad ……gluten why bad for you or everyone

Condo Blues

I’m enjoying Soots’ art installation. Very organic.

Amy K.

I am as obsessed with spreadsheets, and I love that you document your tally in such detail. Thank you!


Your kitty looks like he is saying, “So what’s your problem?” Very cute!