Thursday, July 31, 2008

The BIG three

I have generated a short list of 'the BIG three' wasteful plastic items that really get to me-grrr!

1. plastic bags
2. plastic water bottles
3. plastic straws

I see these items EVERYWHERE! You will too, just take a look.
Just yesterday I turned down 6 plastic bags. Someone even tried to give me two plastic bags at once (double bagged! NO THANK YOU). If you have been reading along you already know of my despise for plastic water bottles and how flabbergasted I am by the number of plastic straws there are in the world...really if we needed straws so badly we would have evolved to have trunks!
I know there are other plastic culprits out there (many, many more) but it is the prevalence of these three that disturbs me and the careless, wasteful, wistful nature which they are used by everyone. These three items are nothing more than waste! Some plastic lives a long helpful life--I will not deny this--but these plastic items do not live such a life.
Here is my challenge to you: Go one day, two days, a whole week without using any of the BIG three. Turn them down every chance you get and do so with gusto--make me proud :)
Let me know how it goes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

reusable bags are the way forward!

I am so unimpressed by the New York Times and John Tierney's article, 10 Things to Scratch From Your Worry List.

Read #5 on the list:

5. Evil plastic bags. Take it from the Environmental Protection Agency : paper bags are not better for the environment than plastic bags. If anything, the evidence from life-cycle analyses favors plastic bags. They require much less energy — and greenhouse emissions — to manufacture, ship and recycle. They generate less air and water pollution. And they take up much less space in landfills.

False--we still need to do something about evil plastic bags! Just ask any sea turtle. Just ask the Pacific Garbage Patch. Why they set this item up as a an either/or scenario between paper and plastic is beyond me.

Reusable bags are the way forward! get with the program!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sushi, say it aint so!

Eating out can at times be a nice way to stay on the plastic diet when the grocery store lets you down--oh and how the grocery store lets you down--it is simply so overwhelmingly plastic. Of course eating out only works if you go to a restaurant that doesn't serve on plastic plates, use plastic utensils, plastic cups, etc. I know the eating out thing is all a façade, there is plenty of plastic back there in that kitchen, but if it doesn't come out on my plate, as my plate or in some other disposable form to my table then I can't really count it now can I? If I were to count all that plastic back in the kitchen and how it contributed to my food I would certainly starve to death leaving Kerry all alone to carry on the plastic diet torch. It's already a lonely plastic diet world out there so there is no need to make it more lonely. Well, my blissful restaurant going was shattered recently when I read how much plastic is used in the seemingly nonplastic world of sushi! I almost cried sake tears. And I quote: "In the old days, sushi chefs wrapped their fillets of fish in kelp [go kelp!]. Now sushi chefs enclose blocks of neta tightly in plastic wrap [booo!] so they don't dry out in refrigeration. At Hama Hermosa, the chefs went through a mile and a half of plastic wrap every month [yikes!]."(The Zen of Fish, by Trevor Corson). I love sushi and I'm not giving it up, but I won't take it for granted anymore either! Oh sushi why do you do me like you do?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Do something drastic.. cut the plastic!

Hello, dear reader.

Are you at work?

Is your boss lurking about?

Well, you're in luck. I have a four-minute youtube video about plastic bags for you to watch. It has subtitles and it's not set to music, thus making it cubicle-friendly.

Enjoy and namaste.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sneaky, sneaky...putting plastic in my food!

So I was eating my lunch today: rice, beans, tomatoes, beef, corn & cheese quiche, plastic...! There was a little piece of plastic in my quiche! Yuck-o. I didn't eat it (the plastic that is), buy it , use it, or consume it in anyway so it doesn't count! And I stopped eating the quiche too.
Then later I really wanted to buy some yummy chocolate wafer cookies with plastic packaging for my long bus trip back to the Campo Grande ( i.e. civilization and my next hostel) but NO I choose a banana instead.
Hooray plastic waste averted again! I could hear a round of applause from plastic hater everywhere as I walked off to my bus sans plastic waste. Thank you, thank you, yes it was a zero plastic day :)
Indecently bananas are so wonderful. They are the perfect nonplastic snack, but sadly I can't recommend you eat them over other fruit...why not? The problem is bananas aren't grown commercially in America-boooo! In fact I don't eat them at all in the US (I have a thing about buying food that is better/more traveled than I am and flying bananas in refrigerated containers to the US is just so wasteful.) I gave up bananas before I gave up plastic--maybe I wouldn't have made such a rash move if I had contemplated the beauty of the banana's natural packaging a bit more or if I had my own banana tree (and if I had a banana tree I'd need a monkey too!!!!)
At any rate I have been eating a WHOLE LOT A bananas in Brazil and they are sooo goood! Might I suggest oranges (grown commercially in California and Florida) or apples (grown just about everywhere) and many other wonderfully naturally plastic free fruits to those of you cutting down on your plastic. As I am sure you are aware plastic sadly rears it's ugly head A LOT in the snack food section and you must be careful.

Monday, July 21, 2008

adventures on the high plastic seas

Oh boy has everyone heard about these guys who made a raft out of 15,000 plastic bottles?

And they're sailing from LA to Hawaii? and eating Mahi Mahi Jerky?


To raise awareness about the plastic soup in our oceans!

how cool is that!?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sometimes plastic can be fun

plastic is forever

plastic is forever

plastic is forever

Let me tell you: this plastic diet is TOUGH!

The first few weeks were about setting up systems to avoid plastic in everyday life, such as bringing my own coffee mug and water bottle and keeping a spoon in my purse. That went well.

Then during the three weeks in Greece I let my guard down.. I mean look how much fun my friends are having with plastic in those pictures! For me the hardest part is not wanting to impose my plastic zealousness on others.. for example, we used tons of plastic to make punch for a party. What's a girl to do? Outlaw punch? I made some good choices though to eat fruits instead of snacks wrapped in plastic, and using my Sigg saved tons of money and plastic.

Now it's week 7 and I'm back in the States and re-committed to the diet. So far today I haven't used plastic, although the temptations abound! Especially in the form of hummus!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Accounting for plastic on vacation...

It's the wrappers that are getting me! Too many things have plastic wrappers and I'm on vacation so my guard is down. I'm passing up as many things as I can but so far I have used more plastic than I would like to have :(. None today though :)
Here's what stands out in my plastic usage in Brazil so far:
4 water bottles: 2 large, 2 was at a fancy restaurant and I felt dumb asking for tap water when I was paying soo much for a nice dinner, the others were when I was on an island and had no other choice
3 plastic spoons: caught without my own metal one-darn
3 small plastic plates: with really yummy desserts on top of them--most of the street food is put in or on plastic-grrr
4 straws: no excuses-humpf
many plastic wrappers: On things like silverware at restaurants even! I'm avoiding these as best I can but it is hard, for example: I'd like to try the acai soap at my new hotel but it's wrapped in plastic--booo and the plastic sleeves around the silverware at the restaurants are there to indicate to me (the customer) the silverware is clean...what am I supposed to say "Can I have dirty silverware please."
I'm sure there is some other disposable plastic stuff I've used but I can't think of it right now. I haven't been as vigilant, but I have passed up A LOT of candy because it is wrapped in plastic...probably a good thing in the long run.

On a completely unrelated note I had an interesting conversation with a taxi driver yesterday who explained to me what's wrong with America (finally someone has figured it out!). No it is not our obsessive over use of plastic, though I tried to make that argument. This sage taxi driver thinks the root of all our problems is the fact that we Americans care about our politicians sex lives-- specifically a lack of monogamy--that is what is dooming our country...?...come again. Politics and sex are two different things he explained. Oh I see... And apparently if we just let politicians sleep with whoever they want to and don't care about it (like in Brazil) America would run a little smoother. In fact my taxi driver said he wouldn't be president of the US or Brazil if it meant he had to be faithful to his wife.... Okay, well then, I think this is where I wanted to get to Mr. Taxidiver--yup this looks like my stop and yes I will pass the message along to the American people, thanx now, bye.
If only I could have gotten him to feel as passionate about cutting down on his plastic usage as he felt about how the American people wronged Bill Clinton. Guess I'll have to work on that one with the next crazy taxi driver. On a positive note, no plastic was used in the process of taking that cab ride :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Plastic, plastic everywhere.

Egregious plastic be the judge.

plastic is forever

plastic is forever

Beautiful...YES...unnecessary use of plastic...yes...?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Plastic Update

plastic is forever

Sorry for the silence on my end! It's hard to blog while you're on holiday!

Suzanne requested an update, so here goes:
Yesterday I bought my first plastic water bottle. It was boiling hot at the beach and my Sigg water was disgusting. Even though I wrote my name on the bottle, my friend purloined it and sipped from it for about 6 hours straight this morning while the power was out and we waited for electricity. So that got some good re-use.

Straws have been my main downfall. I keep forgetting to request no straw. I have also used some butter packets, I had to buy a bottle of shampoo (long story but I need shampoo without sodium laurel sulfate which is hard to come by), I got a tube for the beach and I used one plastic bag when my hands were quite full at the shop. Not too bad.

And I took a picture of some insanely wasteful Trident for you all to shake your heads at wistfully. Do we have that at home? I've never seen it before. Distressing!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Everyone loves their Sigg...

...even Christ the statue.

Greetings from Rio!

The plastic plague is in Rio de Janeiro too :(
I saw a store full of tennis shoes shrink wrapped in plastic the other day-ahhhhh!

The tap vs bottle water obsession continues: I have lived in Rio before and drank tap water the whole time so that I am not afraid of the tap water here. If I'm going to use ice cubes or brush me teeth with tap water, I might as well just drink it too-right? Well, I finished reading the book Bottlemania (all about tap and bottled water) on the plane ride here and I started to think more about the tap water I drink in the US and then well about the tap water in Brazil...
Ever heard of toilet to tap? Here it is in a nut shell: some sewage water is refined enough to then be used again as tap water. Only gross when you know about it many of us have been drinking it for years without knowing and we have never cared.
At any rate, I got to thinking about my drinking water needs and have decided to "play it safe" by only drinking the filtered water that is put out in the morning at the hotel breakfast buffet (I fill two Siggs for the day) and water from water fountains that have visible water filters. So far so good, no problems and I don't have to buy lots of plastic bottles either. Besides I don't drink nearly as much water when there are soo many amazing fruit juice choices...strawberry, pineapple, mango, pear, apple, acai, acerola, graviola, etc. etc. yum! I love fresh juice :)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Oil prices drive plastic companies out of business.

Boohoo! Oil prices drive plastic companies out of business.
A whole 30% of the crude oil consumed in the USA is used for PLASTIC and fertilizers! (Our plants grow in oil by products-gross.)
Check out this NPR story on how the price of oil is effecting plastic companies...remember the costs will eventually be passed on to us.
Get out while you still can. One piece a day-hooray!

In case the hyperlink doesn't work for the story go to:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Plastic Cupcake

A cupcake is 30 seconds. Plastic is forever.

plastic is forever

Plastic packing list.

As you know Kerry is in Greece and now I’m taking off to Brazil for a month.
We are taking the plastic diet global!
That and we love to travel because it’s good for the soul.

This is a list of the plastic things (and things in plastic) I am taking to see the world…don’t you wish you were plastic and you could come too!

List: blow-up u-shaped neck pillow (for the plane ride), ear plugs (for the plane ride), I-pod earpodes and charger, travel alarm clock, suntan lotion x 2, lip gloss, foaming face cleanser, hand sanitizer, lotion, shampoo, deodorant, razor, clip-on book light, camera and battery charger, a frisbee, three ziploc bags, two small tupperware containers, etc.

Well that’s off the top of my head, an exhaustive list would be very boring, isn't it amazing how the plastic accumulates.

Off I go, hopefully to return with no more plastic than I left with…here’s hoping. Até logo.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The first month of the plastic diet in LA!

One month's worth of plastic on the diet!

This is what I have used/wasted in one month with the one-piece-a-day challenge.
Some is recyclable but much is not :(

Genesis of the Plastic Water Bottle: Four

Could the crazy price of gas have anything to do with our over use of plastic, another petroleum based consumer product? Hummm…how are disposable plastic bottles contributing to this craziness?

Did you know?
• 1.5 million barrels of oil in the US alone are used to make water bottles from polyethylene terephthalate; 86% of which then end up in landfills or get incinerated.
• Water bottles are shipped long distances, like the 1.4 million bottles of Finnish tap water sent 2,700 miles to Saudi Arabia, or Fiji water (yes really from Fiji) found in the US and Canada.
• Tap water comes to us through an energy-efficient infrastructure whereas bottled water must be transported long distances—and nearly ¼ of botled water travels across national borders—by boat, train, airplane, and truck. This involves burning even more fossil fuels! Note: a major deciding factor in buying any water or food should be--Is this food/water better travelled than I am? If yes, say no.
• Researcher Emily Arnold: “Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasing—producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy.”

Its time to buy a reusable (preferably not-plastic) water bottle for yourself and for your friends!