Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Week's Worth of Plastic

Recently, "My Plastic-Free Life" aka "Fake Plastic Fish" has been doing a "Show Us Your Plastic Trash Challenge" on their website. Recently in my Facebook feed, I've been seeing a lot of their posts of people who have collected their plastic for a week. Most of it seems to come from the kitchen, so I decided to take a stab at it to increase my awareness of our consumption. Here's what I accumulated last week:

plastic lined meat wrapping paper (from chicken sausages)
noodle tray & plastic wrapping
spinach tub
2 foam asian pear "life jackets"
numerous stickers off fruit + 1 from seafood (brought home in own container from store) + 1 from the pharmacy (I cringed when I saw her pull it off of the "tape dispenser"...)
plastic wrapping & foam from new pot
the old pot (an untimely demise...) w/plastic handle (sadly it's beyond the point of donating to the salvation army)
7 pieces dental floss
plastic sleeve from breton crackers (clearly not mine!)
plastic seal from ice cream tub
tray & wrap from gf shortbread cookies (total impulse buy, guilty)
wrap band from 3 pack of glass food storage containers (on sale & we do need more)
packaging from wire stripper (we're re-using a light fixture from my moms kitchen)
packaging from plug-in for light fixture project
packaging from nailing straps for light fixture project
packaging from light bulb for light fixture project
plastic nut leftover from reused light fixture
instant noodles package (noodles, soup base & freeze dried veggies packets)
seal from carton of almond milk
unsolicited sticker from the body shop from purchase made in November, found in wallet
unsolicited stickers from Disney "movie order by mail" packet
adhesive strip from mailer packet used to send birthday gift
bag of organic apples (in future we'll be buying bulk)
bag of kiwis (ditto)
starbucks lid
3 chip bags
2 small plastic cups (we were handed samples of tea at the farmers market, then realized the cups were plastic :( )
2 juice box straws & wrappers
corner off of pasta bag
packaging from candy thermometer
cornmeal bag (it's been a LONG time coming)
lid to container of sunflower seeds (reused many times, finally is too cracked to use)
bag of buffalo bones used to make stock
Bob's almond flour bag
tray & plastic wrap from mincemeat tarts- Christmas gift
plastic garbage bag that weeks worth of garbage went out in
post it "tape flags" dispenser (came free w/something else, ages ago- finally used them all up)
meat tray & plastic wrap from steak (for ginger beef; not pictured)
lid from container of macadamia nuts ("in-laws" are in Maui this week, I couldn't help myself!)
expired roadside assistance plan card found in wallet
seal from refillable container of corn starch (possibly plastic; okay, it's more probable than possible)
plastic bag surrounding paper bag of tapioca starch (redundant, yes)

I'm frankly surprised that we accumulated this much in a week! Even in the first day or two I was shocked at how many items were adding up. The worst part is that there is no recycling here aside from paper/cardboard and tin cans. Glass jars and all plastics go in the garbage sadly. As much as I like to avoid tin cans due to the BPA issue, they're recyclable & glass isn't around here... It's a tough call. There were a few (and I mean only a couple) of recyclables that went into the bin that goes to the bottle depot that I didn't include in the tally. I failed to actually read the "rules" on the website and didn't count the (mickey of bacardi that was leftover from Christmas that we polished off celebrating Chinese New Year, and the almond milk carton that also goes to the bottle depot) recyclables. Since they're actually being recycled & none of our other plastics are :(

There's always room for improvement...

I bought a new wallet a few days ago. My old one was long overdue for replacement. The new one (as well as the old one) is from a brand called Matt & Nat. It's a vegan line of handbags, wallets, belts etc. The material they use looks like leather, as you can see, but isn't at all! Not only is there an average of 21 plastic bottles recycled in each handbag (in addition to being a vegan product!), but there is always some sort of recycled element in every product. I'd like to think of it as saving a little bit of plastic despite the pile we seem to have accumulated this week.

No plastic, much to  my surprise!
This past week was the first time I used my own container when purchasing seafood from "our seafood guy". The lady manning the counter was understanding as I explained my plight (even though I had just finished eating walnuts out of the container in question!) and rinsed out my container for me.

No plastic here!
 I am in the process of using up the last of my (presumably) plastic dental floss. I've had my current roll of the stuff for ages now. I have already purchased some silk floss and intend to switch permanently once I've depleted my supply. The silk floss (while not vegan) still came in a plastic "carton", which came in a cardboard surround :(

Plastic? Probably...
When my mom moved in to her now home about ten years ago, there was a light fixture above the kitchen table. A cute, aluminum hangy-downy light fixture. Cute, but she hated it. It immediately was replaced with something else that was later replaced with a ceiling fan. For a few years after I had moved back in with her, it was in my bedroom but she took it out after I moved back out. In the house where we live now, we're in need of a fixture above the kitchen table of all places. When we were home at Christmas, I snatched it up knowing full well that she would be happy to never see it again. We're repurposing the light fixture, but are requiring some items to do it. The electrical department at Home Depot doesn't exactly give you the most eco-friendly packaging options for your marettes or wire. Okay, that's not true... the wire came off of a several hundred foot roll. In bulk you could say. The evils of the plastic contributed to my collection this week surely can be canceled out by the reuse of the light fixture, no?

What do ya think?

I think the only plastic in this picture is on the toaster. Oh, and some of my vitamin bottles (left side) are plastic (not all though!). Mind you, the arborite table top is plastic too... but it's vintage- I'd say 60 some years outlives most plastic products! Oh wait, and there's a teeny little green orange peeler in the bottom of the fruit bowl that my mom gave me as a stocking stuffer a few years back.... sigh.

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