Monday, March 21, 2011

A Week's Worth of Plastic: Round 6

This weeks tips on's No New Plastic Challenge included making your own shampoo, pet waste disposal & using up pantry & freezer stashes. None of which I've done! Naturally we go through items in the freezer and in the kitchen day in & day out, but as these people are on a schedule (No New Plastic For a Month) rather than a lifestyle change, who's to say that they wont just use up all their stuff, and when the month is over, just run out to Costco & restock? Hopefully that's not the case. I would imagine that a month of not buying anything plastic would yield some insight toward the degree that plastic has permeated our culture. After only one week of reducing out plastic output, the exercise certainly increased my awareness of the issue! Now it's like a competition!

Stahlbush Island Farms is in the process of introducing a new biodegradable packaging for its frozen produce. Unfortunately the bag of peas that I bought this week was not the new packaging. It seems that everywhere in this town that sells Stahlbush products only has the biodegradable bag available for the frozen corn. It was enough to make me check out their website to see if it was only the corn that was going to be sold with the new package. Maybe it just sells faster than the other varieties?

1. 7 pieces dental floss (not shown)
2. DQ soft serve ice cream tub
3. Garbage bag from last weeks garbage that I forgot to add!
4. Garbage bag from this weeks garbage
5. Allergen free "Chocolate Chips"
6. Corn chip bag
7. Toothpaste tube
8. Instant noodles package
9. Stahlbush frozen peas bag
10. Frozen corn bag
11. Juice box straw
12. Bread bag
13. Produce bag
14. Almond butter jar seal
15. Windshield washer fluid jug
16. Deceptive inner bag from box of pasta
17. Bandages from donating blood
18. Tray & package from rice noodles
19. Salad tub
20. Miss Vickies chip bag
21. Windshield washer fluid jug
22. 2 Daiya "cheese" packages
23. Tetley tea canister
24. 2 So Delicious coconut fudgesicle wrappers
25. Bread mix bag from this!
26. Kiss My Face coupon & sample lotion
27. Caramel wrappers
28. Mahem chocolate bar wrapper
29. Key lime bag from thisssss!
30. 2 Cups, lids & straws from movie theater beverages
31. Envelope of "cheese powder" from KD-like "meal"
32. Earth Balance dairy & soy free spread leftover from Christmas baking
33. 2 straws from restaurant (not shown)
34. Pull tab from carton of OJ
35. Seal from container of goats milk yogurt
36. Container of fresh herbs
37. Seal from bottle of witch hazel

I made this lemon & blood orange curd last week. Not the tarts, just the curd. As a "curd-virgin" I had absolutely no clue what to eat it with/on. When in doubt? Bust the ice cream out! But we didn't have any (note the lack of coconut ice cream tubs in last weeks plastic post!), so I made a quick trip to Dairy Queen which is dangerously situated closer to our house than the grocery store. I don't think I've ever bought their soft serve in tub form before and I have absolutely no idea what possessed me to do so on that day, but I sadly learned some much needed information in doing so. When you buy Dairy Queen in any kind of package that is not an multi-purpose cup, it lists ingredients. Perhaps you may recall our New Years resolution of cutting out artificial colors AND flavors. Turns out ye ole DQ isn't exactly kosher if ya get what I'm throwin' down...  Sadface. But it's for the greater good. I haven't the slightest idea how I failed to think about this before now. Please feel free to shun me should you catch a glimpse of the lips-shaped logo in my heap of plastic from here on in. On a somewhat related note, Miss Vickies Chips no longer have artificial colors/flavors in them! Jalapeno chips are (occasionally) a part of my life again- Hallelujah!

Now, this my dear is our dishwashing soap dispenser. It was a bottle of wine once upon a time, but for the last year or so it has sat perched beside our sink filled with soap and capped with a liquor pouring spout. This allows us to purchase whatever soap we want, and not have to worry about the container it is to be dispensed from. When we lived in Edmonton, we bought soap in "bulk" from The Earth's General Store (where we could also purchase shampoo, laundry soap, vinegar concentrates etc in bulk). We don't have anything like that here, but we do try to fill up when we're planning a trip out there.

Our "new" health food store is called Ave Maria and sadly they don't carry anything in bulk. But I did find some new dish soap that comes close! As you can see, this 3 liter box of dish soap is the equivalent of three and a half "regular" bottles of soap. There is a plastic bag holding the soap inside the box, but clearly there is much less (80% less apparently!) plastic involved.

This article suggests that plastic is not the problem, but more of how we use it that is. It's an interesting perspective on the topic for sure. I donated blood on Thursday and for the first time really paid attention to the amount of plastic involved in the whole process. From the time I opened the door and handed forth my donor card, to the finger prick to ensure my iron levels are adequate (the machine tests a drop of your blood on a disposable slide similar to one you would use with a microscope), the disposable covers for the oral thermometer, the individually wrapped & disposable gloves everywhere, the bag and corresponding tubes & hoses that hold my actual blood. Then top it all off with individually wrapped cookies & juice boxes. After all that I was glad to pull an apple & my water bottle out of my bag instead! 

Photo: Miha Artnak

This plastic bag monster has taken over the capital of Slovenia! I suppose it puts an image on the excess plastic that is discarded in our society. You can be a part of the solution & live plastic free!

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