Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good-bye 2008...HELLO 2009!

Sorry I have been a little absent, but it has been a busy end of 2008 soon to be followed by a busy beginning of 2009 (with a few days in NY with plastifreenyc!).

I am currently on vacation in Vermont with family and as always when I venture away from the plastic-free bubble I have created for myself in LA plastic starts creeping into my life. Plus with the holidays and presents-what is a girl to do!?-plastic will find it's way in.

Here is a picture of my favorite plastic-free Christmas presents!

A cool wooden rolling pin, a handmade tile, yarn, homemade jam, maple syrup, and loose-leaf tea from www.vermontlibertytea.com.

There is definitely a theme to these gifts: they are minimally processed and for the most part unpackaged or packaged in glass. This is one trick for cutting down on plastic: get back to the basics, don't buy things with lots of parts, gadgets, or packaging.

I advertised my desire for plastic-free presents this year and for the most part people were accommodating. I even got plastic free and local in many cases-way to go fam :) On the other hand there were also some conventional gift like DVDs-a.k.a. plastic, encased in plastic, wrapped in plastic...really altogether too much plastic.

So, as the year draws to a close and my plastic consumption has been diminishing over the last 6 months I am recommitting myself to the plastic diet as a New Year's resolution. If you haven't made a resolution yet the plastic diet is a great resolution to take on. I highly recommend it! You don't even have to make it a resolution-you can make it a way of life. Remember start small and build up and no need to give it all up if you have one little slip up :)

Happy 2009! We look forward to your continued readership.

happy new year!














A new year, a fresh start!
How much plastic have you used in 2009?
None!

Consider making a resolution to use less plastic in 2009--
perhaps to give up plastic bags, or give up disposable coffee cups.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

plastic-free chinese food




















here's how it's done:

1. go to restaurant
2. order
3. say "could you please use this container?"
4. hand them your tupperware or re-use a chinese food container
5. when they're putting your order into a bag, say "i don't need a plastic bag."
6. be ever-vigilant. they will try to sneak a plastic spoon in there. you don't need it.
7. enjoy!

it works.. try it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

what to do when someone serves you dessert with a plastic spoon

Our chef at work is amazing and on special occasions she makes us these extravagant desserts.
Yesterday we had Mont Blanc which is this chocolate pudding stuff with whipped cream on top. She came around to each of our desks and dropped off a bowl of it with a plastic spoon. I didn't want to offend her, or refuse the dessert. So what's a plastic dieter to do? I grabbed my plastic spoon and my friend's, snuck into the kitchen while Anita was delivering Mont Blancs in the opposite corner of the office, washed the spoons, put them back and grabbed 2 silver spoons. Success!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

No need for a bag-I have these here arms

I do my best to remember to bring reusable canvas-type bags with me everywhere-I have about 5 in the back of my car-but without fail those bags some how stay in my car when I go into stores (I have poor short term memory apparently). You'd think I would learn or at least be less reluctant to trot back to my car and get a bag when I realize I need one-but no on both fronts. So, I find myself turning down bags left and right and using my arms as my "bag". In fact I do this so often I have developed a patent response to the looks of craziness and the common remark of "Want a bag?" that I get from store staff as I walk toward the exit with my arms loaded down. I smile and say "No thanx, I have these two good arms, I might as well use them" sometimes I go as far as "God gave me two good arms because s/he wants me to use them" (if I think the religious bent will be more convincing) and then I go along my merry way. I like to think I am inspiring others to go without a bag as well, but judging by the looks maybe not so much. Sure would be easier if I was more consistent on bring my own canvas bags into stores with me... Wouldn't it be great though if we all used our arms and hands for what I can only imagine is one of their most functional usages-carrying things ?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

comparing apples and oranges

I've mentioned my love for local farmer's markets before, but let me mention it again—love them!—here is another plastic related reason why.

To set the stage:
Sometime around when I entered college my innate hunter-gather gene got turned on—when it came to hunting and gathering free food that is…free pizza—I'm there…grabbing an extra apple or banana at the cafeteria for later—sure why not?...ice cream social—I can be social if ice cream is involved! Well, time has passed since I was an undergrad and I have become much more selective about what I eat, but when I was at a conference the other day there was a bowl of fruit out and I just grabbed a couple of apples for later—yum apples! It took me a couple of days to get around to eating these apples but when I did I was caught off guard. These apples have stickers on them! Stickers (?!) made of a plasticy material (!!).

Farmer’s market reference:
I have been buying produce exclusively at farmer's markets for so long I forgot produce from stores have stickers! Plasticy stickers! One more reason to shop local at the farmer's market I say. Plus after removing the sticker I thoroughly scrubbed the apple remembering it is likely conventionally grown as well...

Comparing apples and oranges:
My stickered apples went into a bowl in my kitchen with my non-sticker oranges and it painted a nice picture of the difference between my apples and oranges. They were hard to compare as there is very little compassion between my apples (store bought, stickered, far flung fruit) and oranges (farmer bought, stickerless, local fruit).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

why can't i just recycle it-Part II

On the same day that Kerry read the NY Times article she posted about on the slowdown in the recycling system, I heard a story on NPR about the same thing! We both thought 'yes' this makes our point. Recycling is not a cure—it is band-aid. Band-aids are important mind you, but you really have to find a cure or what is under the band-aid will fester.
Take a listen to NPR's story I heard:
Falling Prices Take Toll On Municipal Recycling
(http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97933374)
and find out why recycling is not all it is cracked up to be and why we need to choose first to use less, then to reuse, then choose to recycle.

A couple of other thoughts...
1) I'm very skeptical of recycling generally just because a) I know/have seen more people put trash in with their recycling (in municipal pick up bins) than I have seen people do recycling the right way—very discouraging, and b) I have been told by trash/recycling LA County officials (at a booth at a local farmer's market) that "soiled" or "contaminated" recycling materials are unusable and sent directly to the dumb. So, that pizza box you think is recyclable isn’t if it has grease from the pizza on it or the newspaper thrown in with the beer cans that get wet from the beer are no longer usable… You put a) and b) together and you get a lot less recycling actually happening then we would like to think.
2) I've been reading the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by McDonough and Braungart (I'll probably post more on the book in the future but I definitely recommend it). The book talks about the idea of 'downcycling' as opposed to ‘recycling'. Why? Because practically nothing is re-made or re-cycled into what it was before it is down-graded or down-cycled into something lower on the recycling food chain that will be less easy to recycle in the next go round and will eventually end up in a landfill. Example: plastic soda bottles can be made into a fleece jacket but the fleece jacket can't be recycled into anything else and will end up in a landfill, so the re in recycle doesn't go that far—the cycle ends rather abruptly.
3) The Chinese environment (rivers, forests, wetlands, etc.) are reeling from contaminants that are the by products of recycling, i.e. beach runoff from paper recycling ( no one wants to buy grayish reused paper). So, not only is it consuming energy to send our recycled products ‘out of sight out of mind’ and make them someone else’s business/problem, this industry also hurts the environment. We Americans are exporting our waste so we don’t have to deal with the consequences of it—shame.
Just some thoughts to keep in mind...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

why can't i just recycle it?


For as long as Erin and I have been cutting back on plastic, 
people have been asking us "why can't I just recycle it?" 

Well, this post if for you!  

There's a major problem with recycling.  
Because of the recession, the demand for recycled materials has dropped. 
A ton of tin used to go for $327 a ton, and now it's worth $5 a ton. 
Paper used to sell for $105 a ton, and now it's selling for $25 a ton. 

A big part of the problem is that we export recyclables to China. (Did you hear that? Your stuff goes all the way to China! Recycling is not some magic cure. It's an energy-intensive process.) But since the global economy has slowed down, demand from China has slowed.  And now your paper, plastic, metal and cardboard are being warehoused at great expense to the recycling facilities and to Mama Earth. 

So like we've been saying: use less.  

Read more in "Back at Junk Value, Recyclables are Piling Up" from today's New York Times. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Integrative Nutrition asks: are you living in alignment with your values?

There’s a fellow no-plastic blogger at www.theunplasticlife.blogspot.com who writes about cutting out plastic as a way of becoming more authentic in all areas of your life. She makes the connection that when you’re not intentional about your consumption choices, it’s likely that you’re not being intentional about other things—such as your job.

So in the spirit of celebrating authenticity, I’d like to share about The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.



This time last year, I worked in public relations. I didn’t like my job and I wasn’t doing work that I believed in. My mom told me that “work is work,” but I said that's baloney! I was convinced that I could do meaningful work that matters, and get compensated well for it.

I also struggled with figuring out what to eat. I was stumped when I wheeled my cart around the supermarket or looked at a restaurant menu. I was an unhealthy vegetarian-- not getting enough protein and loading up on desserts to be full. Also an unhealthy marathon runner, eating lots of Zone bars with no clue how to fuel my workouts. I was convinced that something as fundamental as food shouldn't be so complicated!



So when I learned about Integrative Nutrition, a holistic nutrition school where you get certified as a health counselor, I enrolled right away.

During class, the founder of the school talked about doing work that is in alignment with your values. Aha! I knew I was in the right place. Love that word—alignment. I learned how to eat healthy and cook(!), met amazing people, had a wonderful experience, became certified as a health counselor, left the PR job and have had many doors open in my career (in fact, I now work at the school).

If you know anyone who might be interested in attending, class starts in January. Since I'm a graduate, if you mention my name you will receive a $1000 tuition discount. More details here.

Feel free to contact me with questions.

Make it a healthy 2009!
Kerry

plastic free party

I threw 3 holiday parties this week (2 at work, one for play).
Let me tell you, it's impossible to have a plastic-free party, especially if you're throwing it with co-workers and roommates who aren't on an anti-plastic crusade.
I wanted to cry when we went to Whole Foods and picked up the food for the work party.
We filled the entire back of a van with plastic containers.
The most egregious offense was plastic containers with crackers floating around-- they could have just given us the crackers in boxes for us to set out.

There are highs and lows on the plastic diet, and I had some proud moments yesterday. When my roommates and I went out to get supplies, I brought a bunch of reusable bags. Guess how many I brought-- the perfect amount. We didn't need to use a single plastic bag.

And we didn't use any plastic cups or plates or forks for our party. We pulled out all of our glasses, mugs and cups and put them on the table and that's what everyone used. It made for a big clean up effort this morning, but was totally worth it. And led to some funny pics, like this kid with my hiking cup clipped to his belt loop:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Plastic bag law in NY

Check this out, it is from a new plastic blogger Juli in NYC.
Welcome to the plastic-less lifestyle Juli :)
There is going to be a new law re: plastic bags in NY. If Governor Paterson does nothing, the new state law will take effect after Dec. 11. and will nullify NYC's stronger law re: plastic carryout bags passed last January.
Click here to take action:
http://council.nyc.gov/html/action_center/no_to_plastic_bag_bill.shtml

Friday, December 5, 2008

shame on me

i got a tall hot chocolate from starbucks today in a despicable one-time use throwaway cup.

i'm sorry :(

Warning...

I'm flabbergasted. I bought an 8 quart "multi-pot" made by Calphalon tonight. I scored a turkey carcass on Thanksgiving so I could make delicious homemade turkey noddle soup and realized when I got home I didn't own a pot big enough to boil this turkey in. So a week later I have gotten around to buying a big enough pot to make my soup. It came in cardboard box and I'm a bit exhausted tonight so I didn't think to inspect inside the box before bringing my new Calphalon pot home..
Low and behold...

FOUR bags for each of the four parts of this multi-use pot! Yikes! This is absolutely crazy!
But what is more crazy is the warning (in three languages mind you) on each bag.

Here is verbatim:
WARNING: To avoid danger of suffocation, keep this bag away from babies and children. Do not use in cribs, beds, carriages or playpens. This bag is not a toy. Discard bag and any other packaging materials immediately after removing product. Do not re-use this bag.

Here is how I would amend this warning:
WARNING: To avoid danger of suffocation and death, keep this bag away from babies, children, and all animals-especially animals who live in and buy the sea. Do not use in cribs, beds, carriages, playpens, outside, inside, on land, in the ocean or basically anywhere. This bag is not a toy-this bag may bring death to many animals. Do not discard this bag and any other packaging materials immediately after removing product. Please find a way to reuse them before recycling them. Re-use this bag at the very least! Then write Calphalone and ask then to stop using these wasteful bags in their packaging.

And a picture like this might be a good warning too!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

can i wear makeup on the plastic diet?



I love makeup.

I don't wear tons of it, but i do love it. (also: perfume)

Lots of makeup, unfortunately, comes in plastic tubes and bottles.

But in the spirit of making better choices, I have tried out Cargo PlantLove cosmetics.

I'm loving their powder foundation, blush and shimmery eye shadows. The power foundation has a similar consistency to my Bare Escentuals.

In terms of packaging, these products come in PLA (which is made from corn starch and can biodegrade over time) containers and the boxes are made from recycled cardboard.

And their ECOCERT certified products have organic ingredients (like sunflower seed oil, shea butter, almond oil, etc).

Nice to have some new options!

Monday, December 1, 2008

lest we forget


This is a must visit (or revisit) web page, lest we forget how important our actions are and how important it is for us all to do something! We need to take action for ourselves and for those helpless creatures who are unfortunate enough to inhabit a world where humans act so carelessly in their treatment of the only planet we have.

Go, and watch the video clip too!
http://www.plasticbagfree.com/iframe_facts.php


After spending time perusing this page I am reminded of a quote by Bill Bryson. The quote strikes to the core (my core at least).

"If you were designing an organism to look after life in our lonely cosmos, to monitor where it is going, keep a record of where it had been, [and take care of it] you would not choose human beings to do the job. But here is a very salient point, we have been chosen, by fate or providence or whatever you wish to call it. As far as we can tell we are the best there is, we may be all there is. It is an unnerving thought, we may be the universes supreme achievement and worst nightmare simultaneously."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

what i am thankful for

Hi, I was home for Thanksgiving and got teased that plasticfreela posts much more often than I do. Sorry! I'm here!

Some plastic-free things to be thankful for:

Tap water: I love me some tap water.
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Sigg
My reusable coffee mug
People who care and are willing to make small changes that make a big difference :)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A plastic dieter gives thanks!


This is just a short list of the many thing I am thankful for as a plastic dieter. A year ago I did not know how thankful I should be for these thing, now I know, so THANK YOU!
  • reusable, nonplastic, water bottles, i.e. Siggs
  • canvas bags
  • baking soda
  • dairy products, i.e. milk and yogurt, that comes in glass containers
  • natural fibers (organic cotton how I love you, let me count the ways)
  • Ball jars/glass jars of all types
  • Happy-sacks
  • the bulk section at Whole Foods
  • tinfoil
  • other plastic dieters :)
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"A Plastic Bridge To The Future"

That's right, I heard about it today on NPR, bridges made out of plastic.

Story summary:
In rural Ohio, researchers are testing a new bridge made of plastic. Plastic bridges offer low maintenance and long life, but there are questions about how long plastic can stand up to sunlight, changing temperatures and stress.

My notes on the story:
  • These plastic bridges are supposed to last about 100 years (I mistyped years as tears just now-Freudian slip). Really is that "longer life" than other bridges? Don't most bridges last more than 100 years? I'm thinking Roman built stone bridges... Nonplastic bridges need maintenance obviously but they also biodegrade eventually.
  • The man in the story who constructs/tests these bridges actually said, "Plastic bridge may even be greener than concrete." Ugh!
  • There was no mention of using recycled plastic for these bridges. I would be less upset about this idea if I knew this was a way of breathing new life into used water bottles.
Take a listen to the story at:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97546256&ft=1&f=1003

I am not thankful for plastic bridges! But I will share a short list of plastic-less things I am thankful for tomorrow in honor of the holiday. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A message about the dangers of plastic

I thought I would share this information on Bisphenol A (BPA). I received this info in an email from the Environmental Working Group today. Check it out it is a really informative article about the history of BPA and its toxic effects. All the more reasons to give up plastic!

The artilce: Timeline: BPA from Invention to Phase-Out (http://www.ewg.org/reports/bpatimeline)

I hope everyone is planning for a plastic-free/plastic-less Turkey Day!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The no-plastic flashlight....a candle

The power went out at my internship yesterday and because it gets dark at 4:30 pm this time of year I got to come home early! The power outage and free time due to getting off early got me thinking about what I would do if the power went out in my apartment… I used to have a flashlight but for the life of me I can't find it. So, that means my power outage equipment includes one half-used candle and a pack of matches. I decided to buy a flashlight today because a flashlight really could come in handy if the power does go out here. Well….like most times I go to Wal-mart or the supermarket or any big store with lots of plastic packaging and florescent lights I get that deer caught in the headlights way about me. The shiny plastic exterior of everything in the store kind of blinds me and overwhelms my plastic diet brain. So, there I stood looking at flashlights for about 10 minutes, trying to figure out which one to buy...these ones are all plastic and look soo cheap they will probably break the first time I use one of them...this one is metal but it's $30+....this one is wind-up and plastic but doesn't give good light…all flashlights come in plastic packaging...big flashlight, small flashlight...red flashlight, blue flashlight....one flashlight, two flashlights....
I bought another candle.
A candle sans plastic, of course. Many candles have plastic around them sadly. Now my power outage equipment includes 1½ candles and the Sagrado Corazon de Maria. Score! Who needs a flashlight anyway?

Thoughts on: Acceptable exceptions to the plastic diet

Becoming more adept at eliminating unnecessary plastic from my life has been a process. Much of what previously was necessary, no longer is so. Anyone who has tried this plastic diet thing knows this process well. It's fun! I must say I am pretty good at not acquiring plastic these days :) This has led me to think more about acceptable vs. unacceptable exceptions to the plastic diet or acquiring new plastic. I have decided, for me, an unacceptable exception is something along the lines of the following scenario…
It is 7:00 pm and I am on my way home. I have not used one-time use disposable plastic all day! That means I could make a quick stop and pick up a bag of those peanut butter M&M's
that I am craving even though this means buying plastic. I think to myself 'this is okay because you haven't used your one piece of plastic for the day'.
I guess the reason this is unacceptable is because it is indulgent and in a way it is going out of my way to use my one piece of plastic for the day even though I don't need to use it. I have fought the urge and won more than I have lost on this, but sometimes we all need a little chocolate indulgence at the end of the day!
An acceptable exception is this…
Someone else buys and brings a food that comes in plastic, lets say pretzels, to a meeting, potluck, etc. Then at the end of the get together the person says ‘Does anyone want to take the rest of these pretzels home?’ And I (because I can't buy any crunchy carbs because they alllll come in plastic) step right up, palm open. I inherit the pretzels and the plastic bag they came in.

This is acceptable to me because the item involving plastic packaging has already been bought by someone else. The damage is done. I still won't buy such a thing so I am making a difference on my front. Accepting someone else’s food-plastic (or other plastic) doesn't do any more harm, the harm was already done when it was bought/manufactured. But this plastic is now mine and I do have to deal with taking care of it—booo—to the plastic heap with you!

P.S. I inherited ¼ of a bag of pretzel chip things last night-very exciting. The plastic diet really helps you redefine what is necessary and what is indulgence. Who knew pretzels were indulgence. Well, I know now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ann wrote back! or, it doesn't hurt to ask

Thank you for your email and for your interest in Ann Taylor. As a company, Ann Taylor is always looking for ways to be more environmentally sound in both our programs and practices. In the past few years alone we have already made enormous advancements with our initiative to become more "Green". These changes have directly affected our Marketing, Packaging, Printing and Recycling efforts.

Here are just a few, recent examples:

Product Packaging: We have dramatically reduced the use of pre pack polybags for product shipped from our suppliers to our stores. LOFT and Factory have already begun this practice, and Ann Taylor will start their efforts in 2009. So far, we have eliminated ten million polybags.

Marketing: Ann Taylor and LOFT began purchasing 10% recycled paper to print a majority of direct mail pieces. Below is the impact of this change after only a few months:

1557 trees saved
567,000 gallons of water saved
94,000 lbs of solid waste reduction
173,000 lbs of CO2 reduction

Energy Awareness: We are implementing an Energy Awareness Program in our stores, and we estimate we will achieve a 7% reduction in energy use within the next year. (See separate Energy Awareness Program posting on anntaylor.com for more details.)

Printing: We have reduced the printing of the Company’s annual report and proxy materials by 75%, through the effective use of online channels, and for those reports we did print, we used environmentally-friendly paper and printing processes.

Product Safety: We have developed a Restricted Substance Program, which bans or limits certain chemicals from our products and in the supply chain. The program will be implemented across all of our brands and channels for the Winter 2009 season.

Recycling: Associates in our Corporate offices have separate containers for recycling at their workstations. In addition, use of the confidential paper shredding and recycling bins that are on each of our floors in the New York and Connecticut offices have saved an equivalent of 475 trees to-date.

Furthermore, we have established a special Task Force to continually review current practices and potential new practices that will help our continued development in this area.

We are excited about the continued success of this Initiative and look forward to continued growth in this area.

Thank you for choosing Ann Taylor. We look forward to meeting all of your future wardrobing needs! If we can provide further assistance or if you have any additional questions, please contact us via email at clientservices@anntaylor.com or call us at 1 800 DIAL ANN (1.800.342.5266). We are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm EST, Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm EST.


Sincerely,

Ragan Jorgensen
Client Associate
Ann Taylor Client Services

dear ann taylor




Dear Ann T,

Happy National Recycling Day!

I'm writing because I bought a dress in a New York location for a wedding I have coming up in December.
When I went online to show my mom a link for the dress, I saw that it was being offered for $50 less online.

I called the store to see if they would be able to honor the online discount, and they said no.
I practice a plastic-free lifestyle, which I blog about at www.plasticisforever.blogspot.com.
I explained over the phone that I was concerned about the environmental impact of shipping an item that I already have in my possession-- wasted fuel, cardboard, plastic, etc. They assured me that if I called 1800 DIAL-ANN I could request to have my dress wrapped in tissue paper, with no plastic.

I just called and my request was declined.

I am so disappointed!

I'd love to share on my blog a more positive experience with Ann Taylor. Can you let me know what you are doing to reduce the environmental impact of shipping items?

Warmly,
Kerry

a plastic recyclers victory!

Brita® and Preserve® Announce Filter Recycling Program

11/18/2008: The Take Back The Filter campaign is thrilled to announce that Brita and Preserve have teamed up to create a take-back recycling program for Brita pitcher filter cartridges! Read the full press release here.

In a nutshell, beginning in January, folks will be able to drop off filters at Whole Foods Markets or mail them in. Preserve, a U.S. company manufacturing household products from recycled plastic, will recycle 100% of the plastic casing. And the filter material will be regenerated or converted to energy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Plastic you are a constant disappointment!

Look what happened...

...it broke! (there at the bottom and along the side)

Now what am I supposed to do with this?
I bought this...maybe 3 years ago...and intended to use
it as a water bottle, then I learned about Sigg and
Kleen Kanteen and this got relegated to the back of my
closet. It was great for freezing liquid stuff in once
in a while but now...
Now it is just a hunk of plastic that is completely useless.
I'll salvage the straw from the inside and the sip top. Who
knows maybe I'll find a use for them, but the rest is now
going into my plastic heap. I hate adding things to my
plastic heap. It feels like defeat. Ugh! Plastic you are
such a disappointment-a dangerous disappointment!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

National Recycling Day is TODAY!

But you can make every day National Recycling Day if you want ;)
Check out tips, take a recycling pledge, and get some good ol' recycling education at: http://www.nrc-recycle.org/americarecycles.aspx

I say we make the next 364 days National Plastic Reduction Days! Why should a good thing only be one day a year?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good sponge?, bad sponge!, dirty dishes...washcloth?

What's in a sponge...natural sponge?...plastic?...cellulose?....yes, yes, and yes. I’ve decided to steer clear of the plastic ones from here on out. A few months ago I bought a plastic free loofah sponge to use on my dishes. (For the life of me I can’t find who makes, but I bought it at Whole Foods). I bought it because there was no plastic wrap involved and I had a sneaking suspicion that those perfectly rectangular florescent colored sponges I had bought a month prior were not “natural” and they did come wrapped in plastic. I wanted to try something new. Well, the loofah sponge (first on the left in picture) has not fulfilled all my dish washing desires, but I am getting used to it. It leave little bits of loofah on the dishes… I still have my very likely not-so-natural polyurethane sponge, like most people have. I have read that many (most? all?) of commercial sponges are polyester/polyurethane based, i.e. plastic. Plus they come wrapped in plastic so I am weaning myself-well I have already weaned myself-I will not be buying anymore. I also have a VERY plastic scrub sponge for those cooking disasters that involve burned on stuff, but as we all know this will last me a lifetime (or forever as it is plastic). So far I have had this tangle of plastic scrubbiness for more than three years (on the right in the picture). And lastly I have my trusty washcloth. My aunt uses a washcloth to wash dishes (no sponge) and I learned this habit from her. I’m surprised how much I prefer a nice cotton washcloth over a polyurethane sponge for cleaning dishes. If you don’t use a washcloth for dishes you might try this. It is a great plastic alternative. I knit this one myself ☺

I also did a little internet research into other non-plastic sponge options and found these:

Twist Loofah Sponge-one side absorbent sponge material on side natural loofah scrubbing layer.

Caldera cellulose sponge and dishwashing brush from Smith & Hawken.

More Twist sponges these are also cellulose "from renewable tree farms".

I’m interested in trying out the cellulose sponges. They are biodegradable/compostable-double plus! Since I plan on having to do dishes for the rest of my life I think I’ll have plenty of time to try these different options out over time.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

a challenge after my own heart

POW! you can only imagine my excitement when i got an email from the brooklyn green team today announcing their new "bring your own mug" challenge. since i started the plastic diet in june, bringing my own mug is the single most EASY and AMAZING change i have made. no longer do i feel guilty about drinking coffee and then throwing out the cup! (no longer do i drink coffee [at least this week], but that's a different story.)


read on for details about the brooklyn green team's challenge.

oh and in case you think i'm lame for posting 2 re-posts in a row.. it's called "re-using" one of the super important but oft-overlooked of the three r's!


"Why did they even buy me? I sit here on a dark crowded shelf day after day. And then….for a moment, I think my life is going to change. They open the cabinet, our eyes meet. Their gentle hand grazes against my aluminum body. At last! Today is the day they are going to proudly walk me down the street as I carefully hold and keep warm a most precious commodity - the morning coffee. But no, they move right past me and reach for the cereal. Maybe tomorrow"

-Your Travel Mug, 2008

Does your travel mug feel this way? Neglected? Passed over for a wasteful, disposable, one time only headed for the landfill paper cup? Don't let this happen. Because the Brooklyn Green Team in partnership with GreenEdge Collaborative NYC has a new challenge for you and your mug!

THE BRING YOUR OWN MUG CHALLENGE!

Sign Up email brooklyngreen@gmail.com and write I Shower Fast! Include your first and last name and zip. Please pass on to friends and make the impact stronger.

THE FACTS

Today, there is no way to compost or recycle the billions of disposable coffee cups used in the U.S. each year. That's because cups are lined with a petroleum-based plastic (polyethylene) to prevent leaking.

Most disposable coffee cups have a life of only 5 minutes before they are tossed in the trash. In a single week, the average coffee joint goes through 4,000 cups and plastic lids!

Every year, Americans drink more than 100 billion cups of coffee. Of those, 14.4 billion are served in disposable paper cups— enough to wrap the earth 55 times if placed end-to-end!

LEARN

The Biodegradable Cup – a step in the right direction, but will you really compost it when done?

Environmental Defense Fund's Starbucks Paper Project

Thoughts from a strickly-paper blog
Disposable Cups vs. Reusable Mugs from Triplepundit.com
Cups and Other Coffee Packaging Hard on Environment, says study from Packaging Digest

TOOLS

Use a travel mug. Often made of stainless steel, these beauties will keep your coffee or tea hotter longer than a dispoable cup.

Suggest that stores offer a discount when you bring your own. Patronage stores that already offer this. If you buy coffee five days a week, and use your travel mug, you save 260 cups per year!

If you love the SIGG water bottle, which you can find at 3rLiving on 5th Ave in Park Slope or Go Green on Atlantic, you should try their NEW Thermal Bottle. It keeps your hot beverages hot longer than just about any bottle on the market.

If you like to make your own coffee at home check out this Travel Mug Coffee Press. It is 100% spill proof.

For you tea lovers try a mug w/built in strainer!

Did You Know? Starbucks conducted a waste audit in 2003 and found that 589,800 pounds of paper were saved from landfills thanks to 13.5 million people who brought their own mugs!


Can we Solve the Climate Crisis? YES WE CAN! One Sip at a Time!
POW. YOU'VE BEEN GREENED!

Monday, November 10, 2008

WWMD

loved this post from Ideal Bite today! just say NO to plastic holiday decorations! look for plastic alternatives for your holiday parties-- use REAL glasses & REAL mistletoe. what else can we do to have a greener holiday season? xoxo

It's that time of the year again: What would Martha Stewart do?

The Bite

She'd leave the tacky PVC holiday yard decorations at Kmart. Bring in the cheer with natural pieces (such as wreaths and snowmen) instead. How's that for a good thing?

The Benefits

  • Saving for attorney back pay. Those plastic Santa scenes can cost upwards of $150, way more than a real snowman.
  • Homemaking with less plastic. PVC used for outdoor decorations degrades after long sun exposure and seeps into groundwater.
  • More space for back copies of Living. Pinecones and snow can go right back to where they came from: nature.

Personally Speaking

Jen just dumps her decorations in her compost pile when she's done with them, saving the cornucopia for the chickens. Try that with a plastic reindeer.

Wanna Try?

Autumn: Thanksgiving: Christmas:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

hey you ding dongs, these are recycleable!

That's what my friend Lisa shouted yesterday as she fished plastic bottles out of the garbage can.
It was someone's last day, so we celebrated with coconut chai from Bonobos.
I love my work because we eat together which is pretty efficient in terms of waste.
But 30 plastic bottles of chai kind of kills me!



Oh and listen up, PlasticFreeLA!
Bloomberg is proposing to charge 6 cents for every plastic bag shoppers use at the cash register!
This is super exciting. 6 cents doesn't sound like a lot-- but remember what I said in my last post? 10 cents here, 10 cents there and before you know it-- we have a healthier planet. Well look at what the article says:

"Just a few weeks after Ireland adopted a similar, though much heftier tax in 2002 — charging shoppers 33 cents a bag — plastic bag use dropped 94 percent, and within a year, nearly everyone in that country had purchased reusable cloth bags."


Harnessing the brain for good

I saw a segment of the show 60 Minutes called Harnessing The Power of the Brain in my neuropsych class this week-you should check this out if you have a chance. It is absolutely amazing what we can do with science today. In sum the piece was about neuroscientific research that has figured out ways to connect a person's brain to a computer through electordes so that a person can think something and the computer makes the thing happen (it's a bit more complicated than that...but there is now technology that allows you to use your thoughts to make things happen). This is, in a word, amazing. I watched this 12 minutes story in awe for about 10 minutes until it struck me. We (i.e. man kind) can use science and technology to do the most amazing things and yet we (man kind) can't find a way to do the most basic tasks of recycling, reducing and reusing on a daily basis. We have reached extremes in scientific discovery and yet most people can't even find it in themselves to recycle a plastic water bottle when they are done with it!? Where is the disconnect-where did we go wrong? All of the amazingness we have created will be for naught when we have decimated this planet and we have been choked out by a sea of plastic.
It just goes to show everything looks different, even a 12 minute piece on 60 minutes, when you look at the world through the lens of the plastic diet. We need more people to put on these plastic diet glasses.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

another benefit to the plastic-free lifestyle

saving money!

like every time i go to whole foods and i use my own bag:
TEN CENTS off my purchase!

ten cents here, ten cents there.. and before you know it, we'll have a healthier planet :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Reheating food sans plastic

I don't use Tupperware to store my food that often (I only have two 'official' pieces of Tupperware and some leftover yogurt or frosting containers that also do the job). But I try to reuse glass jars from food I buy and I have a cupboard full of Ball jars I have bought or inherited that I mostly use to keep food in. I don't think I will be buying any more reusable plastic Tupperware or those less-long-lasting Gladware ones they sell now. In fact I don't think I will be buying any more ever. I am cutting that plastic out of my life for good. I don't need it! Plus, there are a lot of health risks related to heating food while it is in plastic (I don't think there is any risk in storing food in plastic just reheating). Okay heating in glass has it's hazards too...glass gets hot—really holds that heat—but I am willing to take the risk and wear oven mitts. In fact since I don't have a microwave glass has really come in handy for reheating food. Check out the picture. Obviously I am not the first one to do this, but I find it fun (and pre-microwave-era-kitchy) every time I reheat leftover food in glass jars using boiling water :) I couldn't/wouldn't want to do that with Tupperware! Sorry Tupperware I know you last a long time (since my mother has had the same set my whole life!) and you are reusable, but you are plastic and you are out! Go glass.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trick-or-treat, plastic please!

I had fretted about Halloween and plastic encased candy for about a month to no avail. Then I jumped (almost literally) at the chance to go to a friend's Halloween party and pass out candy there. It was a bit of a cop out, as I didn't deal with the plastic problem head on but it meant I would still get to see little gools and goblins and fairies and power rangers and I would not have to buy my own candy, which I could not bring myself to do because it involves soooo much plastic: individually wrapped candy and the plastic bags the individually wrapped candy comes in! I couldn't do it--that is too much plastic. So, I ran away from the problem and let someone else buy the candy! I thought of homemade treats for less than half a second because we all know no one would eat them in this day and age (ahh to live in the 50's and make popcorn balls, cookies, and candy apples for the little tikes). Well, low and behold, the multitude of plastic wrapped candy was only one of the reasons I realized Halloween is not all it used to be :(
First of all giving kids bucket loads of candy just isn't healthy for them. Giving them little boxes of raisins as treats on the other hand will get your house egged, so candy it is I guess.
Second, giving kids individually wrapped anything in plastic isn't good for the environment!
Third, most kids don't even say "trick-or-treat" any more. They just walk up and open their bag and look at you. Or their parents push them at you when any blind man can see the kid is scared, too young to get Halloween, and shouldn't be eating candy anyway.
Fourth, gools and goblins are a think of the past! I was disturbed by a lot of the "little girl" costumes I saw that we revealing and skimpy.
So, over all it was a bit disappointing. In the end I ate a few pieces of candy (I had forgotten that Charleston Chews even existed--yum) but tended toward the Dots in their little paper boxes. And I began planning my strategy for next year...I'm thinking Free Trade chocolate coins that come in those shiny gold metal wrappers....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A small (but wonderful) success

I received a response right away from one of the card companies I emailed yesterday. It was very encouraging to get such a positive response so quickly. Thank you Red Cap Cards. This has encouraged me to take some of my own advice to participate more in raising awareness about the changes I want to see regarding less plastic in our world. Take a look at the response I got and think about reaching out to make your voice heard as well.

Re: use of plastic packaging

Hi Erin,

Thank you for your e-mail, and we completely support your decision. Hal and I are looking into a corn based packaging solution as we speak, and we are also considering not using any packaging at all…

The store owners that buy our cards often request the cards to be in sleeves in order to keep the cards clean, however I think there is going to be a shift in thinking real soon! All of our cards are printed on recycled paper and our letterpress cards are 100%tree free, so we are almost there!

I truly respect your intentions and I will let you know once we have solved this problem on our end!

Thank You,

Carrie

Ugh, cards individually wrapped in plastic

I found myself in a fancy paper and card store buying some cards yesterday. I love to buy and send cards! Cards are fun and cute. Plus it’s so nice and almost quaint now a days to get something in the 'real' mail that is there to say 'hey I was thinking of you'. Well, since the plastic diet my choices of fun original artsy cards (not Hallmark or Wal-mart generic) are very very limited. Way too many cards come in their own plastic sleeve or envelop apparently the industry lingo for this is “cello-sleeve”. Plus sets of holiday and thank you cards come in little plastic boxes! Will it never end? Well, this makes me mad and now I am taking down names.
Winners:
Positively Green Cards (No plastic sleeve, printed on recycled paper, using soy ink-yeay!)
Selfish Kitty Calypso Cards (Cute and no plastic cello sleeve)
Losers:
Almost everyone else!
Really big loser:

A package of Christmas cards that said “Eco-friendly Rudolph” with a cute Rudolph (with a green shining nose) on the front of the card, but then the cards came in a plastic box! There is noting eco-friendly about plastic Rudolph even if your nose is green.
Also, I am going to be emailing Two Piglets Letterpress, (I like their cards a lot!) they go to the extent to use acid free paper and soy ink, but then all their cards are in plastic. I think they need to hear from me.
Another card maker I love Red Cap Cards is also going to be getting an email because their cards are so cute (see above), I want to buy their cards (really I do), but I don’t want any more wasteful “cello-sleeves” ever. It is a fact that I do not need any more cello in my life-end of story.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

speaking of green products...

In a long-awaited move that will revolutionize my ability to partake in takeout and bbqs without eating with my hands..

I bought bamboo utensils! Just 2 seconds ago!

Look at how cute they are.


do you want to know all about them? i thought you would!

To-Go Ware® - Reusable Bamboo Utensil Set with Recycled Carrycase

  • Made from sustainably-harvested bamboo
  • Carrycase made from recycled plastic bags
  • Lightweight, strong and long-lasting
  • Heat- and stain-resistant
  • Safe to use on non-stick surfaces
  • Won't impart or absorb flavors
  • Hand finished with natural, food-safe wood oil
  • Includes utensils, chopsticks & carrycase

    "...absolutely perfect for cutting down on takeout waste"
    Vegetarian Times


    The newsprint style actually contains recycled newspaper!

    Cool Facts

    Bamboo is an organic, beautiful & earth friendly material known for
    its fast growth cycle and natural strength. Highly adaptable, bamboo
    can grow almost anywhere and protects the environment by generating
    more oxygen than other trees. While gaining popularity, bamboo is still
    mostly an untapped renewable natural resource.

  • www.reusablebags.com

    Sunday, October 26, 2008

    "green" products for a consumer society

    I saw some interesting products on our Plastic is Forever Google ads* today (right of the posts). And they got me thinking about eco-friendly products. First I saw the Biobag-biodegrabale waste bags made from corn. I have a friend who uses these and likes them. I stick to paper bags that I get at the store (i.e. reduce and reuse). Whenever I get low I just don't bring my own canvas bag to Whole Foods and re-stalk up on paper bags for my trash. This is the cheap option. The Biobag is a nice alternative though. Both paper and corn are biodegradable and even though they will end up in a landfill and probably won't biodegrade for a very long time they are both better than plastic that will never biodegrade. Then I saw the ad for the Plastic Bag Dryer by Greenfeet. This made me smile :). Wow, how about paying $18 for a plastic bag dryer? Don't get me wrong drying your own bags is great. I dry out my plastic bags and reuse them endlessly...and my mom has done this for over 20 years...but we have managed to do this (and do it well) without a specific device. Okay, so yes I have to admit I was tempted to buy it. It is made out of wood (!) and it is "nifty". I can see it on my counter. But I'm going to stick to what I got, which is amazingly similar (a bunch of wooden spoons in a cup) and what I've got is free. If though this little modern marvel will get more people to reuse all sorts of plastic bags I say-yeah! But keep in mind you can do this on your own like me. Lastly, I came across a product that just kind of made me mad...it was on the NPR website under 'Green Gifts' marketed as a 'gardener's gift set'! What is green about all this plastic? If you love the earth and love to garden you should be very weary of plastic. We need to start narrowing the definition of "green". Too many things are being touted as green. Green is just a catch phrase these days. One of the main criteria for green in my book is: little to no plastic is involved. There are still so few people aware of the menace of plastic and how un-green plastic is. We need to change this. Tell someone today! Spread the word.

    *Let me remind you Kerry and I have no control over these ads. So some of the ads are for products that are the antithesis of what we stand for, but some aren't obviously.

    Thursday, October 23, 2008

    plasticy writing class

    Let me start by saying: I love my writing class!

    But...

    Tonight there were 9 of us in the room.
    And on the table we had:

    3 plastic Dasani bottles
    2 plastic Poland Spring bottles
    3 cans of soda
    2 plastic bags (one for bread, one for popcorn)
    1 zip lock bag
    1 chex mix bag
    1 yogurt container
    1 plastic knife
    1 plastic spoon
    1 glass snapple bottle

    Do you think all of that got recycled? hmm.. no
    Do you think ALL of that could have been avoided? you betcha

    Wednesday, October 22, 2008

    Sugar cookies, frosting, and not being a martyr.

    I made sugar cookies last night... For me sugar cookies just are not right without Pillsbury frosting which-of course-comes in plastic. It was my plastic for the day and it brought happiness to all those who partook of the cookies today, but still I felt guilty buying it. I could make my own frosting....but it's just not the same. That sickeningly sweet chemically stuff made by Pillsbury makes my heart flutter when it is smeared on the top of a delicious sugar cookie (which I did make myself). I feel much more guilty buying "food related" plastic (like the frosting container) than I do buying "industrial related" plastic (this frosting created more than a little guilt). For example I had not guilt last week buying the weatherstripping for my doors so warm air stays in and cold air stays out at night. I guess what it comes down to is the fact that yummy cookies are a luxury and not freezing to death is a bit more on the necessity side of things and the point of the plastic diet is to give up these luxury things. So, as a plastic dieter partaking in the luxury side of plastic is much harder than it used to be. In the end though some 'bad' plastic serves as a vessel for very delicious frosting and that's just the way it is. It's the plastic diet not plastic martyrdom!

    Sunday, October 19, 2008

    plastic free tailgating

    I went to The Hunt yesterday, which is horse races & tailgating, a match made in heaven.
    The challenge was to not use any plastic when that's all we had for plates, utensils, cups.

    tricky!

    I couldn't eat swedish meatballs or penne with vodka sauce.
    But I had some chips with dip and bread with mango salsa and a cookie.
    All plastic-free!
    I could have also had a burger or hotdog with no plate, but didn't get around to it.
    And I wanted some wine but didn't have my own cup, so when my sister Suzanne left I asked to use her cup.
    Someone overheard us talking about plastic and was curious. It was funny to hear Suzanne explain about the evils of plastic and how easy it is to reduce plastic use in everyday life.. she was a skeptic a few months ago but now she's on board!

    I noticed I'm getting better about explaining the plastic diet to people, too. Here's what I say:

    1. On principle, I don't use one-time use plastic. Things you use and immediately throw away. Just don't believe in it. Some people don't believe in unicorns or ghosts or God. I don't believe in one-time use plastic. People can't really argue with that.. seems fair enough.

    2. I explain that even if you don't think about it consciously, we're all intelligent people, and at some level we're aware that wasteful practices like buying coffee every day and tossing the cup are not good choices. I repeat the phrase "you are an intelligent person" a few times. People like that :) They start nodding in agreement. And then I explain that the blog attempts to bring these issues to a conscious level, so that as an intelligent person, you are thinking about it and able to make better choices.

    xoxo

    Friday, October 17, 2008

    step one: participate

    I often want to tell people and companies what's on my mind regarding their plastic usage. What stops me? Mostly I don't think people will listen or that I will not make any change-I'm just one person after all. Some people are very good at writing letters to bring about change and they are extremely inspirational to me, like Beth from www.fakeplasticfish.com.
    Well today I made a comment about the packaging used at my standby I-haven't-eaten-lunch-yet-and-it's-3:00 lunch place in a an online survey my receipt asked me to participate in (whenever I could win $1000 or free food I am a sucker for surveys.)

    They said:
    If there are any other comments you would like to share about your most recent visit to Rubio's, please enter your comments below.

    So I said:
    I would really encourage you to stop using plastic in your food packaging. Your use of plastic actually limits what I am willing to buy at your restaurant. I only order tacos because they comes wrapped in paper. I always tell the counter worker not to put my order in a plastic bag, but you also use a lot of other plastic (i.e. plates, clam shell containers, straws, salsa dishes) that could be replaced with more environmentally friendly options. Thank you for taking my comment into consideration. Progressive thinking in terms of eliminating plastic packaging will benefit our collective health and environment.

    So, the lesson here is: Step one-participate and tell them your opinion. I hope step two will be-watch change happen. Of course we will need a lot of participation in step one in order to see step two come to fruition.

    Just say NO to bottled water

    Remember my rant about bottled water back in June, well the Environmental Working Group (EWG) just came out with a report on why bottled water is not all it is cracked up to me (and it's not just because it comes in plastic! wasteful wasteful plastic!).


    Check it out:
    Bottled Water Quality Investigation: 10 Major Brands, 38 Pollutants
    (http://www.ewg.org/reports/bottledwater).

    Yup, you gotta love your Sigg (and filtered watered).

    Wednesday, October 15, 2008

    a no plastic day

    I had a no plastic day yesterday and it felt really good. It's not the first time and won't be the last. I just wanted to share :) This day even included some grocery farmer's market shopping and going out to dinner. Sometimes it is easier to just stay home and use no plastic but it is even more rewarding to venture out in the world and do so. You can do it too. Happy days!

    Sunday, October 12, 2008

    plastic free radical

    The thought came to my mind over the weekend that I am a bit of a plastic free radical. I kind of like this thought :) It came to me as I was smugly eating my lunch with my own knife and fork off a real (chinaware) plate, while everyone else around me was eating off and with plastic! I found myself in this position at a conference on Saturday which had catered breakfast and lunch buffets. I passed up plastic with gusto, but I did not pass up food! Why is it that where there is food there is also plastic? I am used to using a napkin as a plate for pastries and other small breakfast food type things, but then along came lunch. A napkin would not serve me well as a plate to hold salad, pasta salad, a sandwich and soup! Okay, I can handle this I thought. I have my water bottle, I have my silverware, I need a plate. So, I asked one of the caterer people standing by the door to the kitchen...I think what I said was "Do you have any real plates, I don't use plastic and was hoping you could let me have another plate." To my surprise the guy said yes, walked over to a cabinet and gave me a plate and then said "Just don't tell anyone where you got it or they will all want one." Hum? Yes, let us no let it get out to the masses that there is an option other than plastic (okay I get that this means more work for the caterer-washing plates and all) but common. I felt like making a Marie Antoinette like proclamation "Let them eat with plates!" Let us liberate the masses. If there are other plates available-which there were where I was-it is time to not just think about the short term costs (less money if you don't have to pay caterers to wash plates) and think more of the long term costs (the growing plastic wastelands in our oceans and health consequences from plastic).
    "Let them eat from plates!"

    Green Dining in NYC: GustOrganics and Dos Caminos!

    What a week. On Wednesday I met a friend for dinner at GustOrganics and last night I had dinner at Dos Caminos. Both are green certified restaurants by the Green Restaurant Association!



    Gusto is also America's first all-organic restaurant. We're talking 100% organic. How amazing is that? Plus when I was there they had just gotten a liquor license so our wine was 30% off :)
    I didn't see a single piece of plastic.. and they use non-plastic takeout containers (I think it's cardboardy like what they use at Whole Foods) except for salads which come in PLA containers and their take-out utensils are PLA. The containers and utensils are "recycled, tree-free, biodegradable and organic." Sweet.
    • These are some of Gusto's sustainable practices:

      • Recycling and composting.
      • Using only wind energy.
      • Use of solar lighting.
      • Energy efficient kitchen equipment.
      • Water conservation equipment.
      • Biodegradable take out containers, cups and flatware.
      • Environmentally friendly packaging (Most is biodegradable).
      • 100% recycled paper, bags and boxes.
      • Printing with soy ink.
      • Green cleaning practices including biodegradable products.
      • Built our restaurant with recycled woods and eco friendly materials.
      • We wear all organic uniforms.
      • Use of organic flowers.

    • Green word of mouth:
      • We use our restaurants to interact with our Guests and create environmental awareness.
      • We learn and collaborate within our communities to improve our attitude toward the planet.
    Can you believe this is happening right in Union Square? very exciting!

    YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. And how you eat. So how can you change the world one meal at a time?

    Wednesday, October 8, 2008

    A cautionary tale about tea


    Tea: a beverage made by steeping leaves in water.
    How simple and quaint you are my morning beverage.
    How can you possibly be messed up with plastic?
    Oh let me count the ways....
    Some tea has plastic cellophane on the outside of the box you buy it in, some has the bags individually wrapped in plastic on the inside...some tea has BOTH! Really it is too much. In the store I have opened boxes to look inside and then put them back on the shelf, I have shaken boxes to listen for a paper sound or plastic sound on the inside. Some individually packaged tea comes in those little tear open envelops that seem plastic-y as well as paper-y...what is this miracle material? I give up. Nicely packages tea bags are wonderful, but I think today was my last purchase of this modern convenience. It is all loose leaf-all the time for me (after I finish what I bought today :).

    Tuesday, October 7, 2008

    Cough cough sneeze sneeze

    I knew this day would come...I have a cold :( Boo-hoo. I know, I know, we all get colds no big deal, BUT what kind of cold remedies are out there that don't come in plastic? I have been a user of Airborn, Zicam, NyQuil, etc. ...but I want to find some good (likely home remedies) for the common cold that don't come in plastic. What do you suggest? My first non-plastic remedy recommendation comes from my sister-in-law. She suggests: sleep! I love sleep so I am all over this, but the reality is it's hard to get much more sleep than I already do and get everything done that needs to get done. But since I only have 5 NyQuil doses left I slept in an extra hour today :) I still have a cold :( I think I'm going to go buy some oranges now. Please any good plastic free home remedies are highly appreciated. Thanx.

    Monday, October 6, 2008

    plastic free alarm clock


    I emailed Erin today wailing that I need to buy a new hair dryer and alarm clock.

    My hair dryer sounds like it's about to explode and/or set me on fire.

    And I use the alarm on my cell phone, but ever since I got a new phone... it's not reliable.
    9 times out of 10 the alarm fails to go off. not a good situation!

    But then I got to thinking instead of buying another appliance.. maybe there is an alarm clock feature on my macbook.
    I did a google and why yes, there are many options!
    I downloaded this one:
    http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/ipod_itunes/alarmclock.html

    I changed the settings so the computer can wake itself up from sleep mode and start playing Party Started by Cat Empire. I'll let you know how it works out!

    Thank you plastic diet for saving me money!

    Sunday, October 5, 2008

    Go plastic free, bring your own.

    I went to a party tonight. I brought and used my own silverware and glass. No one noticed the fork I used, but as I pulled the glass out of my purse I caught myself apologizing, "I don't mean to be rude, but I don't use plastic" I said as I passed my friend the glass to fill my water. I even said this to someone who knows I don't use plastic and thinks it's great, so obviously I had no need to apologize. It's funny, people really don't mind (or notice) that I bring my own stuff yet I keep apologizing. In fact, I think (at least for now) I am a fun quaky plastic-free-oddity at parties. Kind of like 'not using plastic' is my new party trick (I also have double jointed elbows to fall back on if the plastic thing doesn't wow them). One thing is for sure, not using plastic is always a conversation starter, and more and more I find I'm not the only one starting that conversation.

    Friday, October 3, 2008

    ignorance is bliss?

    hi everyone! sorry i've been quiet this week.
    don't take that to mean i've been using lots of plastic-- i have not!
    here's a post from the blog "love your city," that i thought you might like
    (http://loveyourcity.wordpress.com/)


    ignorance is bliss?
    September 16, 2008, 10:49 am
    Filed under: trill

    i am currently taking a class called ‘culture & the environment,’ which is essentially about how those two are, have always been, and will always be, inextricably tied. yesterday the teacher asked, by show of hands, how many people think that we are in an environmental crisis. FIVE people raised their hands. FIVE. out of a class of maybe 40 or so? 1.2.3.4.5.

    the question that followed asked the opposite, how many people thought that this whole environmental crisis thing is non-existent, just a trend.
    and someone actually put up their hand.
    “uhhh uhh well it’s not that there isn’t a crisis, i just think its toootally blown out of proportion.”

    THERE IS FUCKING FLOATING PILE OF GARBAGE IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN THAT IS THE SIZE OF TEXAS*!

    *696,241 km…don’t mess.

    vice magazine did an article on it a while ago, which spurred hours upon hours of internetting on my part. i needed to know more and i was honestly a bit disappointed in myself for not having had any idea that such a thing existed. i would just read the vice article if you don’t know, because they will explain it better than i, and they have pictures.
    nevermind that animals are dying because of they plastic they are eating.
    nevermind that plastic is now at the bottom of this food chain that we are on top of.
    plastic is forever.
    forever and ever and ever.
    one day when we destroy all of this beauty, it will just be plastic and diamonds, straight chillin.
    even “biodegradable” plastic doesn’t go anywhere. it just gets broken down into the tiniest of polymers that get ingested by the tiniest of creatures. plastic is not food. it makes animals sick, it makes them die, it makes them change their gender. what the fuck son.

    all the plastic that has ever been created is still on this earth.

    digest that.
    literally.

    now i’m all riled up and off-topic, so i will just leave you with a link to this great blog called plastic is forever. it’s these two women who are on a “plastic diet,” basically trying to cut out as much plastic as possible. feed your mind.

    help meee.