Show Us Your Plastic

I started saving plastic in the top drawer of a file cabinet at work then carried it home in my purse. The cute guy brought his home in a brown paper bag he propped against the kitchen wall. The smaller pieces were tossed in a plastic bowl on top of the salad plates. Isn't this how everyone saves their plastic?

I responded to Beth's, @ Fake Plastic Fish, call for Show Us Your Plastic challenge. She's been saving and photographing her plastic for a couple of years. The cute guy and I did it for a week.

Having it all in the same place was a good reality check. I honestly didn't think we used this much and there are a few pieces that didn't make it into the picture. On the other hand, this is a fraction of the plastic we used two years ago when I was still shopping at the grocery store or even a few months ago when the final switch from plastic produce bags happened.

The big pieces of plastic were packaging for boat gear. Sailing is actually synonymous with plastic. In fact the plastic industry probably invented sailing so it would have a market for its plastic. That is after they invented processed, fast and prepared foods because they're the foundation of a thriving plastic industry.

The cute guy and I each ended up with plastic lids from speedy baristas that installed them before we could decline. They're displayed in the plastic cookie tray he bought and then emptied during his first single handed sailing race to the Farallons. (Ninth place!)

He was then assaulted with a straw. "Don't ask," he said. I didn't but we did discuss a regular set of utensils he could carry in the truck for those emergency burritos on sailing nights.

One of my biggest surprises was a baggie of almonds from the farmer's market. I honestly didn't notice they were in plastic. All I saw were Almonds. And I wanted them. In fact I specifically didn't buy raisins and dates because they were sold in plastic.

The other surprise was all the mail with those harmless little plastic windows. They actually breed in my mailbox. I stopped the catalogs and free mailers some time ago but there's more that can be done. I'll be requesting estatements from banks and utilities.

There are some things however that I do not want to give up. Andante cheese which is wrapped in a thin film of plastic, Rancho Gordo beans that come in cellophane bags and St. Benoit yogurt sold in returnable glass jars but with a rind of plastic around the lid. They are staples I rely on.

The cute guy is not giving up sailing.

Until I find something comparable I'm also not giving up yellow sponges with the green scrubby sides that come individually wrapped. I'd happily buy a three or a six pack if I could find them though.

I may be able to save my organic dirt bags and refill them at the local hardware/nursery store. It will be worth checking in to.

The delivery of the Sunday NY Times in it's signature blue plastic bag is on the hit list. At least for the summer. I can buy a copy at the corner store. I'll also try to be aware of almonds but they control my mind. I make no promises.

I don't believe we will ever be plastic free but the least we can do is minimize our consumption of single use plastic when it's not necessary so when it is necessary, or there isn't an apparent alternative, say for sailing or medical, healthy like things, our over all consumption won't be great. We'll save our plastic chips for when we really need them. That's my motivation anyway.


Green Bean said...

It really makes a difference to track one's waste, doesn't it?

As to the sponges, I finally found an acceptable substitute!! From TWIST, a 100% biodegradable loofah spong #50. It has the scrubby side that I've not been able to fidn with any of the other "eco-sponges."

Rancho Gordo said...

The Rancho Gordo bags are biodegradable but not compostable, whatever that means. We're actually going through samples now of compostable bags. It's an ongoing project.

JessTrev said...

Wow, the bean company is really on top of things! Interesting post, it's so fascinating to get a glimpse into other people's increment by increment efforts (which this kind of tracking forces you to do). Tx for sharing.

huebscher said...

Our local hippie garden center, which blends some fantastic soils, sells bulk if you drive a pickup to their shop. Perhaps yours does, too?

Kel said...

tracking is very useful...its all those small damn bits of plastic..the kids also bring in stuff which you havent accounted for..damn kids! great to know rancho gordo is 'onto it' , see, blogging IS good! my latest is doing the cheese box thing; taking my containers into the market to bring home the chese slabs...its all an effort but the bins look better! hehe..thinking of your red container!

Donna said...

Oops! You'll be receiving books in a plastic bubblewrap envelope in the next couple days. Didn't even think about the plastic thing. Maybe you can reuse it and then it won't count. :)

kale for sale said...

Green Bean - I love you. Thank you for the sponge substitute. The corner store actually sells this brand but only the part of the line wrapped in plastic. I'll ask them about these loofah sponges.

Rancho Gordo - How in the heck did you find that I even posted this so quick?! You are amazing. I'm sure it's the beans. They've made you as powerful as Popeye. Glad to hear about the ongoing bag project. I went to the dictionary to figure out the difference between biodegradable and compostable but it didn't make sense that something could be one and not the other. In any event I will not be feeding the bags to my worms.

JessTrev - I'm with you on all points. Thanks for commenting.

huebscher - Our local hardware/nursery is exactly that, a hippie garden center. But I'm not sure they blend their own. I am going to check it out though. All I need is a pick up truck. Or a wheelbarrow. Thanks.

Kel - Seriously when the kids are visiting this house it's a magnet for plastic and industrial food. I completely loose all bearings and still manage to feed them organic strawberries or some delicious thing I hope they will remember. Love the cheese box idea. You seriously rock.

Donna - We had bubble wrap stored in the pantry from some ship or another and the cute guy made them into place mats. Great dinner conversation and laughs with company. We'll think of some way to reuse the envelope. Actually Staples will accept bubble wrap at the UPS Centers and reuse it. Yeah I'm getting my books!

BerryBird said...

Oooh -- this is a great idea. I'm kind of scared to try though.

I love love love the idea of emergency burritos. We used to live around the corner from a place that made a mean catfish burrito. How I miss walking there whenever the urgent need presented itself!

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